With snow in the forecast, Stettler drivers are shifting gears to get their winter tires on.
Trick or treaters and drivers were greeted with a fresh helping of flurries on Nov. 1 with more snow expected throughout the week before clearing over the weekend. The temperature has also started to drop with the low expected to hover in the double digits.
With the white stuff hitting the roads, Lane Montpellier, the owner of Tirecraft in Stettler, had noticed an increase in the number of people coming in to get their winter tires on.
“Believe it or not when people see snow, the phone pretty much rings (nonstop),” he said. “It depends on the year. Every year is different. This year we’re a little bit early. Some years are later in November before you see it.”
Montpellier said the kind of tire someone needs depends on the amount of driving they do. For those mostly driving in town, an all season should do but for those who commute such as to Red Deer, they might want to consider purchasing winter tires, he said.
Jim Anderson, owner of OK Tire, agrees. He said winter tires makes driving safer for everyone.
“I ideally try to tell everybody that if they are having turkey dinner for Thanksgiving and they don’t have their winter tires on then the next thing they have to do is get them on,” he said. “This is a little late than I would prefer but it is just the nature of the beast. Everyone waits for the first snow.”
Unlike some provinces like British Columbia that requires drivers to put on winter tires for certain highways, Alberta doesn’t have any law requiring people to have winter tires.
Alberta Transportation does, however, encourage drivers to have four winter or all-weather tires during severe winter conditions.
There are also no laws against using studded and chained tires but if they damage roadways, the driver could be held responsible.
Regardless what people put on their vehicle, Brian Proctor, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said now that winter has arrived in Alberta, motorists should prepare to switch how they drive.
“It is nothing unusual for us to get snow at the end of October or early November,” he said. “We have low pressure that is sort of developing across British Columbia and moving very, very slowly. This time of year we get these kinds of flow patterns with prolong periods of light snow. We are really setting ourselves up for a 36 to 48 hour period of intermediate light snow.”
Proctor said Albertans should also prepare themselves for a colder winter this year. He explained the temperature depends whether or not it is an El Niño or a La Niña winter. The former would be warmer while the latter is colder.
He added it looks like the winter is shaping up to be a La Niña.