Montrealers dash to garages on day before winter tire deadline

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Montrealers crowded in car garages on Saturday, trying to get their winter tires on before the deadline.

As of Sunday the tires will be required on cars, a deadline that comes two weeks earlier than in previous years.

CAA-Quebec spokesperson Pierre-Olivier Fortin said that while he believes Quebecers were made aware of the change in deadline, some people tend to procrastinate.

“When you try to get an appointment two or three weeks ago some garages couldn’t give an appointment before Dec. 1,” he said. “They’ve been doing all kinds of advertisements and promotions to ensure people know about the deadline this year. But we all have very busy lives, so we’re going to have people with all-seasons or summer tires after Dec. 1 for sure.”

Maggie Jordan was among those waiting at Merson Automotive to have their tires put on on Saturday.

“I was a bit late doing it but I think if it prevents accidents and one life is saved, it’s totally worth it,” she said.

He added that historically the deadline has set off a scramble for procrastinators.

“It’s always the same thing year after year. Some people just don’t think about it or wait until the last minute to think about getting their winter tires,” he said. “When we have the first snow it’s the wake up call for so many people.”

Fortin said drivers should begin thinking about changing their tires when the leaves start falling in autumn.

Drivers caught on the road without winter tires can face a $60 fine and two demerit points between Dec. 1 and March 15.

“It’s a law and you have to have a line at some point,” said Fortin. “We shouldn’t rely on the law or specific date to have winter tires installed. If we go according to common sense and logic, we should think about it according to logic. Mid-November would be (a good deadline). Past this time we get snow and colder weather.”