We’re sorry, but it’s time to pull out those winter tires

There’s always a transition period for motorists when the snow starts to fall, so it’s important to begin prepping for the sudden change in weather now!

By Krista Sylvester | October 12, 2021 |9:59 pm

Don't worry; it's not snowing yet. But it might be time to put your winter tires on your car soon as we shift from summer to winter driving mode.

Photo: Shutterstock

It’s almost that time of year again when we need to start thinking about switching our winter tires to summer tires as the roads inevitably start to shift from dry to snow. 

It also means the Calgary police start to see different types of traffic infractions, says Sgt. Colin Foster. 

“During the summer months when the roads are drier and in better condition, that does promote, (speeding). So, we do generally see an increase in speeding offences and certainly higher speeds.” 

Foster says during the winter, they still find motorists speeding. 

“Though that tends to be more speeding faster than the conditions will allow,” he says, adding people can be fined under the Traffic Safety Act for exceeding the suitable limits when conditions don’t allow for those types of speeds. 

“Drive according to the conditions. Just because the speed limit is 50 km/hour, doesn’t mean it’s suitable for the road at that time.” 

When the snow starts to fly, it’s important to remember how to transition into winter driving mode. 

“Obviously, when snow does fly, the roads become a lot more slippery, and ice is a huge problem. As a result of that, we see a lot more fender benders and collisions when we get a big snowstorm.” 

If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change 

As most Calgary motorists know, the weather can change on a dime and while the weather looks decent for the foreseeable future, that can change fast. 

That’s why it’s probably time to start thinking about putting your winter tires on this month. 

“We certainly recommend the use of winter tires. It does provide a greater grip for the road surface so that you’re not going to start sliding as easily. But we also encourage you to drive defensively during the winter driving conditions,” Sgt. Foster adds. You know,

That includes giving yourself extra time to get to your destination, leaving more space between your car and the one in front of you and in general, just getting used to the winter driving conditions again. 

“What we tend to see is when the snow first flies and gets onto the road, we forget how to drive in winter conditions. And then we see a large spike in minor fender bender type crashes,” he says. 

“As people get used to the conditions again, those general fender bender crashes start to reduce, because we get used to driving those conditions again.” 

Sgt. Foster also recommends carrying an emergency kit inside your vehicle, especially if you’re leaving the city. 

“If you do have a crash, you’ve got some warm clothing, you’ve got some water with you, and you have a means of communicating where you are.” 

Did you know October is National Pedestrian Safety month? 

Officials say most pedestrian collisions happen during the morning rush hour period, increasing through the afternoon and peaking in the evening rush hour when both drivers and pedestrians are rushing to get home.

They recommend reducing your speed when approaching busy intersections and look for pedestrians. Don’t forget; seasonal changes in daylight during October and November and weather conditions can make seeing pedestrians more difficult.

According to the City of Calgary, between 2013 and 2017, an average of 43 pedestrians were killed and 1,166 were injured each year.

The vast majority (96.5%) of pedestrian casualty collisions occurred in urban areas (2017).

Nearly half (47.3%) of drivers involved in pedestrian casualty collisions failed to yield the right of way to the pedestrian (2017). 

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Krista Sylvester

Reporter at Calgary Citizen

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