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Winter safety, changing winter tyres. What the law states country by country

Here what the law states country by country regarding changing winter tyres

Home road Winter safety, changing winter tyres. What the law states country by country
Winter safety, changing winter tyres. What the law states country by country

A road trip out of season can be an enchanting idea, perhaps driving in the midst of a landscape covered with snow. But to do so safely for both your passengers and your wallet and to avoid getting fined, you need to be properly equipped with tyres which comply with the applicable regulations in force in the countries that you expect to drive through, because the rules can change each time you cross a border.

Here is an overview of the obligations and prohibitions to keep in mind, country by country, even before traveling, we always recommend you to check the complete legislation of each individual state you intend to visit. Our review does not claim to be exhaustive and, although it has been written with diligence, we cannot guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information provided, or any subsequent changes that may occur in the various countries. We therefore invite you to check the regulations in force before traveling.

AUSTRIA

The obligation to use winter tyres M+S or chains is applicable in the presence of winter road conditions for all vehicles under 3.5 tonnes, from 1st November to 15th April of the following year. If you ignore this obligation, you could incur a fine of Euro 60, which could go up to Euro 5.000 if you put the safety of other road users at risk. There are areas where access is prohibited, with the exception of vehicles fitted with winter equipment. The obligation to use snow chains, to be fitted on all the wheels of the driving axles, may be indicated by specific signs. Winter tyres must be fitted on all wheels and have a minimum tread of 4 mm while snow chains, that must be homologated ÖNORM V 5117/5119 may be fitted on the driving wheels in the event of ice and snow. All Season tyres are considered to be winter tyres, provided they are marked M+S.

BELGIUM

There are no general rules in Belgium; the use of snow chains is envisaged in the event of ice or snow on the road surface.

BULGARIA

The compulsory use of winter tyres, in case of winter road conditions with M+S and 3PMSF marking, or any tyres with a tread of at least 4 mm, is valid from 15th November till 1st March.

CROATIA

From 15th November to 15th April the obligation to use winter tyres M+S with a tread of at least 4 mm on the driving wheels applies.

CZECH REPUBLIC

The obligation to use winter tyres with a tread of at least 4 mm in depth and with M+S, M.S. or M&S marking applies: from 1st November to 31st March in case of ice or snow.

DENMARK

In Denmark there is no general legislation with regard to winter tyres. Studded tyres can be fitted in particular climatic conditions and only from 1st November to 15th April of the following year.

ESTONIA

The compulsory use of winter tyres M+S with a tread of at least 3 mm applies from 1st December until 1st March, but may be extended from October to April if weather conditions require it. Snow chains can be fitted for snow-covered roads.

FINLAND

All motor vehicles, from 1st November to the last day of March, must be fitted with winter tyres M+S with a tread of at least 3 mm. The period is extended in Lapland, where the obligation starts in mid-October until the end of April. From 30th November 2024 it will be mandatory to fit tires also with 3PMSF marking.

FRANCE

This is the most important novelty of this year: starting from November 1st  and until March 31st , in the Alpine regions (42 departments) and in some sections indicated by specific signs, winter tires M + S or with 3PMSF are mandatory. In case of violation of these rules, the vehicle will be blocked and you could be fined Euro 135.

GERMANY

The use of winter tyres – in this country identified with M+S plus the symbol 3PMSF - is compulsory in the event of winter weather and road conditions. Otherwise it is possible to use snow chains.

GREECE 

There are no obligations regarding winter tyres, but snow chains must be fitted if the roads are covered with snow in some regions of the country.

HUNGARY

There is no dedicated national legislation but taxis in Budapest must be fitted with winter tyres from November 1st untill 31st March.

IRELAND

In Ireland, there are no specific requirements for the winter period; snow chains may only be used when the road surface is covered with snow.

ITALY

In Italy, in the period from 15th November to 15th April, it is compulsory to have snow chains on board the vehicle or for the vehicle to be fitted with winter tyres with the M+S marking (preferable solution). The obligation applies to roads outside inhabited centres, while individual municipalities may make them compulsory inside cities.

LATVIA

Winter tyres M+S with a minimum tread of 3 mm are required from 1st December until 1st March. Snow chains can be used in case of snow on the road.

LITHUANIA

All vehicles must be equipped with winter tyres M+S from 10th November until 1st April. Snow chains can be fitted on snow-covered roads. From 1st November  to 9th April you can also use studded tyres.

LUXEMBOURG

In the presence of winter conditions such as snow, wet snow, frost or ice vehicles must be fitted with tyres marked M+S. Bikes, quads and other light vehicles are exempt from this obligation. Fines start from Euro 49 and can reach Euro 74 if you block traffic. From 1st December to 31st March you can also use studded tyres, with which you can travel at a maximum of 70 km/h on normal roads and at 90 km/h on the motorway. Snow chains can be fitted when there is snow or ice on the road.

NORTH MACEDONIA

Winter tyres marked M+S (with a minimum tread of 1.6 mm for vehicles under 3.5 tonnes) must be fitted from 15th November to 15th March, outside cities.

MONTENEGRO

The use of winter tyres marked M+S is compulsory outside city centres from November 15th to March 1st.

NORWAY

There are obligations to use winter tyres with the symbol 3PMSF but those who use them must check that the tread is at least 3 mm thick; those who instead drive cars fitted with summer tyres must be able to mount chains on them in case of snow or ice.

PORTUGAL

There are no rules concerning winter tyres

ROMANIA

If the roads are covered with snow, ice or are in winter conditions, tyres with an M+S marking are compulsory. If the road surface is covered with snow you can use snow chains.

SERBIA

The obligation to fit your vehicle with winter tyres M+S with a tread of at least 4 mm applies from 1st November to 1st April outside cities while you can use snow chains only in case of snow or ice on the surface.

SLOVAKIA

From 15th November to 31st March and when roads are covered with snow or ice, all vehicles must fit winter tyres or all season tyres with a tread of at least 3 mm, with M+S marking.

SLOVENIA

The obligation of winter tyres or All Season tyres with a tread of at least 3 mm applies from 15th November to 15th March and in the presence of winter conditions. In addition to the M+S marking, winter tyres are also identified with the 3PMSF symbol.

SPAIN

Winter tyres, marked M+S, must be used at least on the drive axle in case of snow and snow chains can be used in case of special signs with a maximum speed of 50 km/h and if there is snow on the road.

SWEDEN

All vehicles must be fitted with 3PMSF winter tyres with a minimum tread of 3 mm from 1st December to 31st March. Until 30/11/2024 it is still possible to fit tyres with only the M+S marking.

SWITZERLAND

There is no obligation to use winter tyres, but you may be fined if you drive in winter conditions with summer tyres and block traffic or if the tyres are deemed defective. Snow chains may be used on some sections of road particularly snowy or icy.

THE NETHERLANDS

There are no obligations to use winter tyres however the use of snow chains is prohibited.

TURKEY

Winter tyres M+S or 3PMSF are compulsory from 1st December until 1st April. Snow chains can be fitted when the road surface is covered with snow while the use of studded tyres is prohibited.

UNITED KINGDOM

Winter tyres are not compulsory. Snow chains and studded tyres are permitted only when they do not damage the road surface, if the asphalt is covered by a layer of snow or ice.

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