Drivers in Canada's Prairie provinces are the least likely to use snow tires, according to a new poll. ((Lindsay Carroll/CBC))

Drivers in Canada's Prairie provinces are the least likely to roll out on winter tires, according to a survey of drivers released Tuesday.

Fifty-nine per cent of Alberta drivers and 69 per cent of motorists in Manitoba and Saskatchewan reported they did not use winter tires, according to the RBC Insurance survey. By comparison, 57 per cent of Canadian drivers across the country said they used winter tires.

Use of winter tires was highest  — at 96 per cent — in Quebec where the tires are mandatory as of mid-December. Drivers in Atlantic Canada followed with 72 per cent reporting they switch their tires.

Meanwhile, 57 per cent of Ontario motorists reported they did not use winter tires, while 52 per cent of British Columbians reported the same.

The Ipsos Reid survey, conducted from March 27 to April 10, included 2,251 adults and has a margin of error of 2.19 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. 

Quebec's new law — under which drivers without the tires face fines of up to $300 — has put winter tires in great demand, with shortages anticipated in the province and the neighbouring Maritimes.

George Iny, head of the Automobile Protection Agency, says he expects stock to decline as the deadline approaches.

"There are already shortages, spot shortages of certain sizes for SUVs," he said.

"We're convinced by the time the Dec. 15 deadline rolls around there will be certain tires out of stock. This used to happen before. It'll just be exacerbated by the additional demand this year."

But Gilles Paquette, a spokesman for the Rubber Association of Canada, said manufacturers adjusted inventory in anticipation of the new law.

"We made sure that we could meet consumer demands based on market projections," he said.

"We don't expect there will be any tire shortage this season. We've reviewed basically the industry shipments and we have every reason to believe the supply lines will be adequate."

With files from the Canadian Press