Prospect of snow brings long lines at tire shops

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) With the possibility of snow in the forecast -- the clock is ticking to get your tires changed over. Our Cat Viglienzoni found out what to do if you don't have a chance to get your winter wheels on before the snow hits.

It's that time of the year again -- winter tires are at a premium, as are spots to get them switched over. At Tire Warehouse on Shelburne Road in South Burlington they're doing about 40 cars a day.

"It's pretty standard -- craziness, mayhem," said John Beauregard, the store's manager. He says business picked up even before the word "snow" showed up in the forecast. "This year was a little later just because of the weather. Usually people wait until they see the snow in the forecast and then it breaks loose all at once."

He says when the first flurries are forecast, people start lining up before opening to get in. They're starting to get maxxed out. "As many appointments as we can possibly fit, we've got on the books," Beauregard said.

If you can't get yours switched over yet, Vermont State Police Trooper Michelle Archer says plan to drive carefully, leaving yourself extra stopping room, because you'll need it. "Summer tires -- they'll do for maybe this first time, but maybe make sure you give yourself more time to get to where you're going," she said.

But while Vermont law doesn't require winter tires, state police want you to get them to reduce your risk of ending up off the road and ending up with a big bill. Archer says on average towing comes to about $150 as well as a possible $200 ticket from VSP if you were going too fast for conditions. "Slow down. Speed plays a big factor in things like this," she said.

At Tire Warehouse they'll be swapping sets of wheels through the new year. "Parking lot is pretty much full all day, every day 'til January or so," Beauregard said.

Which kind of snow tires you get depends on both your car and where you live. If you live in the mountains, you're probably going to want to get studded snows. If you're in the city, you can get away with a few different options.