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Fewer people getting snow tires because of light winter, pandemic

Posted at 6:25 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 20:26:47-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Not a lot of heavy storms plus people staying at home more because of the pandemic means way less people have faced winter driving conditions in Utah.

But with this weekend's storms moving in it, some people are nervous that many are not prepared for driving in snow.

One place that expects to see some influx of new work is West Valley Collision Repair.

“We do see a lot of additional accidents once it snows” Bryan Ellison, Owner of West Valley Collision Repair says, “Probably going to be a little bit worse because a lot of people haven’t been driving because of the pandemic.”

On top of a winter where people aren’t driving in snow, far fewer people have actually put snow tires on their vehicles this year because of the lack of conditions.

“This year you’ve had so many factors impacting that,” Davon Julius, the Manager of the Big O Tires location on South Temple says, “Less people traveling because of the COVID, less snow at the same amount of time.”

Julius estimated that sales of winter weather tires are about 20-25% less than usual this year but he is concerned that that lack of tire sales might cause more to potentially have accidents on the road.

“Everybody thinks about the aspect of going” he says, “they can go better when they have a snow tire on but for me it's all about stopping your stopping distance is so much better.”

But the potential for accidents is something the West Valley Collision Repair team knows very well.

"We own a detail shop was well” Ellison says.

He says fender benders are more common this time of year because people tend to take it slower when weather is not great.

“A lot of these accidents when they are snowstorms, they are not high impact damage because they are going a little slower” Ellison says, “But those real small one's people say well it could happen again in the winter so I’m going to wait until summer to get it fixed… It carries us through the June, July, too August so that’s when it will hit us is really then.”

As for those that might be procrastinating on their tires this time of year because of lack of winter weather conditions Davon Julius at Big O recommends a newer type of tire called a Hybrid tire.

It is an all-season tire that also has a snow rating and can be left on through the summer months instead of changing them out so that you can use that tire through the next few storms and be safe.