In Manitoba, November’s late fall weather can deteriorate quickly, leaving roads in poor driving condition.
With one snowstorm in the books, drivers in the region are rushing to make the switch to winter tires.
"That has been starting already for 2 1/2 weeks," says Peter Teichroeb with Sun Valley Tire in Winkler. "The appointments have been going on already, I guess ever since people hear the first time on the radio that snow is gonna fall. So then, right away, people are booking appointments [to put] put their winter tires on. It's a good problem to have. I know it's very busy and it gets a little stressful sometimes. But at this time of temperatures this is the time when you need the tires on."
Currently, winter tires are mandatory by law only in the provinces of Quebec and British Colombia.
According to Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), winter tires increase traction, and can cut stopping distance by 25 per cent or more.
"They say around 7 degrees is the point where all season tires start losing their traction. It gets harder and it doesn't grip the road as nicely," adds Jeremy Hildebrand, a co-worker of Teichroeb's. "I think we're past that point, the 7 degrees Celsius. The all weathers will be a little bit better, but then the winter tires will grip that road quite a bit better."
When asked if winter tires really do make a difference, Teichroeb defers to their customers.
"We've heard quite a few comments from different customers that come in that say they've been driving around on all season tires all their lives. They've been hearing this fashion about winter tires being the new thing. When they put them on, we get these customers coming back saying, like wow. That is a big difference. I'm never going back to just all seasons again. I'm going to switch over to winter tires all the time."
Some motorists choose to go with studded tires.
"You have to wait, legally, till October 4th is when the Manitoba bylaws have it" said Teichroeb. "The studded tires really do help for ice traction. For snow traction not as much, but it's got the little studs in there to grip the ice better. Even though it is strictly a winter tire, you still have to be careful out there on icy conditions, that's for sure. You never know if you have to slam on the brakes. The studs won't guarantee that you won't have an accident, but it will prevent it a little bit further, that's for sure."
Hildebrand admits the all-weather tires offer a particular advantage.
"If you don't want to deal with the whole changing your winter tires and summer tires back and forth with the seasons, then it's a great idea to go with the all-weather option."
MPI’s Winter Tire Program provides low-interest financing to eligible Manitobans to purchase qualifying winter tires and associated costs.
With files from Ronny Guenther
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