One of the first things many Alberta drivers do to prepare for the snowy season is get winter tires installed on their vehicle.
An Edmonton city committee recently discussed the benefits of making winter tires mandatory during winter months.
Red Deer Coun. Dianne Wyntjes said while such tires help make roads safer, council isn’t focused on trying to mandate winter tires.
“There are many other significant challenges here: housing, the Red Deer hospital, an addiction treatment centre, our share of the cannabis tax. Those are priority issues that we discuss as a municipality,” she said.
Mandating winter tires is a “provincial issue,” Wyntjes added.
“It’s important everybody is operating on the same protocol, but it’s a question of where municipalities should put their oar in the water. While it’s certainly a safety decision to put winter tires on, I’d look to the province for that (mandate),” she said.
Quebec is the only province to have a mandatory winter tire law, which has been in place since 2008.
Jeff Roberts, owner of Wrenchmasters AutoPro in Red Deer, said roads would be safer if everyone used winter tires.
“Anytime you can drive on snowy and icy roads, and have the best traction available through a winter tire, it’s going to make the roads safe. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
“A true winter tire is a very soft rubber, which allows it to bend and adhere to adverse conditions, especially ice,” Roberts said. “For an all-season tire, I call it a three-season tire … the rubber is a lot harder.”
Roberts said his garage has been “extremely busy” the past two weeks.
“Tuesday, we all woke up to some pretty slick roads, especially in residential areas. I almost fell down just getting into my truck, the road was so icy,” he said.
Roberts said Alberta weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to get winter tires installed sooner, rather than later.
“The tire is your only line of defence between you and the road,” he said. “In my opinion, one of the most important things you can do for your vehicle is have proper tires for proper conditions.”
Roberts said drivers should make other preparations for winter, including making sure the coolant is of sufficient strength and ensuring the block heater is working.
“Extreme cold weather … will really stress out components on your car,” he said. “Maintaining fluids is another important thing you can do to ensure your car is up to par and going to survive these conditions.”