Drivers rush to install winter tires ahead of snowy weekend conditions in Lethbridge

Click to play video: 'Southern Albertans rush to install winter tires ahead of weekend winter conditions' Southern Albertans rush to install winter tires ahead of weekend winter conditions
WATCH ABOVE: The popularity of winter tires has increased over the last few years, and many people wait for the first snowfall before getting them installed. Eloise Therien has more on the safety measures drivers should be taking as snowy conditions roll into the Lethbridge area. – Oct 15, 2020

After a warmer-than-average start to Autumn, southern Albertans are preparing for winter driving conditions following the first snowfall in the area earlier this week.

Lethbridge’s tire shops have been feeling the impact, as customers rush to get their all-season tires replaced with the appropriate winter tires.

“We have been seeing upwards of 40 to 50 appointments for each day, for about the next week,” said Kal Tire manager Corry Penton.

“Waiting for the first snowfall isn’t really advisable because of course everyone is waiting that long.”

Read more: Pandemic protocols in place this snow tire season in Alberta

Penton adds around 15 per cent of Albertans didn’t swap tires in the spring, meaning they’ve worn out their winter tires in the wrong conditions.

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“A lot of people kept their winter tires on right through the summer, just due to COVID-19. Getting them taken off was quite difficult,” he said. “They will wear down dramatically faster than they otherwise would.”

For those who would rather keep one set of tires instead of spending money on both, Penton says the best option is to purchase all-weather tires.

“[All weather] are tires that you can keep on all year but have a severe service rating in Canada so that you can have a winter-rated tire on all year.”

“You can really feel the difference when you’re driving on the road and have a winter tire on — you are safe.”

Del Delaney, driving instructor and co-owner of Drivers Edge, will be putting winter tires onto the company’s nine cars this weekend. He says although the proper changes should be made to vehicles at this time of year, making changes to your habits is also vital.

“As the seasons change, people’s driving habits don’t tend to change as quickly as the road conditions do,” Delaney explained. “People are driving too fast for the actual conditions, they’re braking too late and they’re not looking far enough ahead.”

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Read more: How Calgary is preparing for snowy and icy winter roads this year

According to the Alberta Motor Association, winter tires stop nearly 15 metres sooner than regular tires, but that 31 per cent of collisions are caused by following too closely.

“You want to give yourself a larger following distance,” Delaney said. “That’s going to give you more reaction time.”

Other tips for safe winter driving include carrying an emergency kit, thoroughly cleaning your vehicle of snow and ice before driving, and keeping gas tank levels above half.

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