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Montana tire shops and snowplow drivers get busy as temperatures drop

Posted at 4:53 PM, Nov 03, 2022

When snow is in the forecast, people may feel the rush to prepare for the changing weather. Some get their ducks in a row way in advance, while others wait until the last minute to do things like put snow tires on our vehicles.

Will Anderson is the manager at Interwest Tire Factory in Belgrade. He says they see a surge every year in October when temperatures drop and the snow comes.

“And that’s when everyone comes in all at once and unfortunately, we can’t get to everyone all at once,” said Anderson.

Walking around the shop at Interwest, it’s all hands on deck, with no time to waste.

“Right now, we’re all doing overtime,” said Anderson. “We work 60 hours a week and stay here for lunch.”

Anderson said the shop averages about 100 cars a day.

“We’re having a hard time trying to keep up with that,” said Anderson. “We’ve started scheduling tire work and we usually don’t do that. We’re scheduling for over a week out.”

While people often procrastinate and rely on tire shops to help keep them safe on the roads, the plow drivers who start their day at 3 a.m. to ensure the streets are drivable are also important.

Curtis Wellock is a plow driver for the city of Bozeman. He’s been plowing snow off the streets for years.

“You don’t have a choice to be unprepared in this job, “said Wellock. “We’re always checking the weather seeing what it’s doing hour to hour day by day.”

He said he takes pride in his job, but there are some challenges.

“People that leave their drift boats and RVs on the side of the road. It’s just another obstacle, so if that stuff could get changed and people would be more aware it would be beneficial,” said Wellock.

Street superintendent John VanDelinder agrees. He wants to remind people to be cautious.

The first storm is when it can be the slickest so drive slowly, take your time, and get on the major streets where there’s sand and it’s been plowed.