The obligation of winter tires in Europe

CBAYZ 18-01-2018 Auto
Every winter again for many people where and when winter tires are mandatory. To winter tires are a number of advantages, but also a number of disadvantages. If you are going abroad is recommended to always check what the rules concerning tires and traffic. In recent years the use of winter tires has increased dramatically. Especially since 2010 when winter tires compulsory in Germany were asked. There is still much uncertainty about the use of winter tires. However, they are always obliged under winter conditions in certain countries.

Winter tires

The rubber of winter tires is a lot softer than the rubber of summer tires. Because the rubber is softer, you have more grip during rain, snow and other slippery. At temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius winter tires will perform better than summer tires. Summer tires will harden at a low temperature and therefore perform worse. A hard summer tires will lose grip faster with smoothness than the soft rubber of the winter. Even though you have winter tires, then you can still adapt to the weather conditions, because you can always get more in the slip. Winter tires perform best with a minimal profile of four millimeters.
Winter tires can be recognized by this logo:
  • More grip.
  • Shorter braking distances.
  • Better driveability of the vehicle.
  • Not so fast snow chains as with summer tires.
  • Maximum driving safety in winter conditions.

  • Winter tires are expensive. Cheap winter tires are often poor and dangerous.
  • Give a false sense of security. Many people think they can drive faster in winter than summer tires.
  • More wear of the tires.
  • More fuel.
  • Some bands make more noise while driving.
  • You have to save your tires.
  • Changing the tires.


Since 2010 in Germany, winter tires mandatory. Since that year, there is much demand for winter tires. In other countries, though longer a requirement for winter tires. There are no fixed rules. Each country has its own rule. In Spain, winter tires are mandatory if you encounter a sign and in Austria you are required to drive the whole winter to winter tires. Also for motorcycles and motor homes is an obligation for snow tires.
In these countries there is a requirement for winter tires in winter conditions. In most countries there is no fixed period in which the obligation applies, exceptions.
  • Germany
  • Finland; compulsory between December 1 and March 1
  • France
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Norway
  • Austria; required between November 1 and April 15
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

When winter tires are mandatory?

Winter tires are mandatory in winter conditions, but what will it mean by? Snow, sleet, slush and ice by ice and frost formation. Look before you travel well to the weather forecast on your route. If you do not have winter tires and they give smoothness, stay at home, you run the least risk. If you're driving with summer tires and you arrive unexpectedly in snow or other slippery rightly, you are actually required to leave your car, because you only drive with snow tires. The obligation can even sometimes apply in early spring when the roads would sometimes freeze-up by frost.
Besides winter tires are M + S tires and all-season tires allowed. The M + S tires, which means mud and snow, absolutely not offer much grip as winter tires and all-season tires are both in summer and in winter less kwa performance.
All tires must have a tread of at least 1.6 millimeters. It is advisable to maintain a profile of four millimeters for maximum safety.

What if you do not have winter tires and a collision / accident get?

In general, if you are involved in a collision or an accident, if you do not have winter tires, the responsibility is laid upon you, or a part of it. You can thereby substituting for very high costs, in the worst case. Also, you risk a high fine, this can range from ?? 40, - to ?? 5000, - and in some cases even to seize the car.

Snow chains

If you are traveling to the mountains, it is mandatory to have tire chains with you. Even if you have winter tires, you must have snow chains with you. Mainly on country roads and mountain roads, snow chains are a necessity. Snow chains may be implemented at the drive wheels, while you have to have winter tires on all bands. With snow chains have to drive as indicated on the sign or there is deep snow. Snow chains may only be used if no damage is done to the roads. Besides you may with snow chains no faster than 50 kilometers per hour.

Where to buy good winter tires?

Which winter tires are good, that is always a big question. That is notably the budget you want to spend on the purchase of winter tires. Every year tested several tires, including the ANWB and ADAC. It is advisable to take the test results in the choice, because cheap is often costly purchase. With cheap winter tires have a lot less grip. If you opt for real security you better pay a bit more money for a good set of winter tires.


The purchase of winter tires is pricey. If you do not often use the car then it is a waste of all that money. If you do not want to buy tires, but going on holiday to ski or winter conditions, will want or need to drive, then you can always choose to hire winter tires. Today there are many companies that offer this. You can rent snow tires in this way for a shorter period.
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