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Province gearing up for winter tire program

The province's new low-cost winter tire purchase program will be rolled out by Manitoba Public Insurance late next month in anticipation of early snowfalls.

It will allow eligible vehicle owners to take out a loan from MPI to purchase and install a set of four tires. The loan is to be based on the prime lending rate plus two per cent.

The tires must also be approved Snowflake-stamped winter tires -- a logo of a three-peaked mountain with a snowflake inside -- purchased from participating retailers.

More details of the program are to be released in September.

The Selinger government announced the program in last spring's budget as a way to make it easier for drivers to buy the high-traction tires. On average, winter tires can cost up to $120 per tire plus the added cost of installation.

Softer-rubber winter tires are regarded as superior to all-season tires when it comes to braking in snow and ice. Their use is recommended by groups such as the Canadian Automobile Association and CAA Manitoba.

The province introduced changes to the legislation governing MPI on April 10, which allowed for the low-cost winter tire program. The same bill also clarified that injuries arising from golf cart accidents and collisions on racetracks are not covered by MPI.

Quebec is the only province in Canada that requires motorists to use a full set of winter tires between Nov. 15 and April 15. The province has said it has no plans for mandatory winter tires in Manitoba.

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