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European Winter Tyre Regulations

Winter Driving Requirements across Europe.

Unlike the UK, many European countries have specific rules and regulations when driving on their roads during the winter. Being a stranger in a strange land unfortunately will not always protect you from local laws. It is your responsibility to adhere to local laws and prepare your vehicle accordingly.

Tread Depth

Where winter tyres are required as standard, the minimum tread depth is usually 3mm (with the exception of the Czech Repeblic which now require a 4mm minimum).

These requirements apply to all motorists. For visitors to some European countries the use of summer tyres with chains is permissable (where local signage dictates their use) instead of winter tyres. You should check with your travel advisor for any changes to local winter tyre regulations before you leave.

It should be noted, however, that winter tyres offer the safest handling and performance not just in snow and ice but on cold wet roads too and should always be fitted as a first choice.

Snow chains_1

Winter Tyre/Snow Chain Requirements in Europe by Country

ALBANIA

Winter tyres - Albania does not have mandatory legislation regarding the use of winter tyres.
Snow Chains - Between 1st November and 30th April it is compulsory to carry snow chains.

ANDORRA

Winter tyres - Andorra does not have mandatory legislation regarding the use of winter tyres.
Snow Chains - The use of snow chains is compulsory where indicated at the roadside.

ARMENIA

Winter tyres - Armenia does not have mandatory legislation regarding the use of winter tyres but use is recommended in wintry conditions.
Snow Chains - Are not compulsory but where used must be fitted to the drive axle.

AUSTRIA

Winter tyres - for vehicles capable of carrying eight passengers or more the use of winter tyres on the drive axle is compulsory between 1st November and 15th March.

For vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight of 3500kg or less and during conditions of snow, sleet or ice - the use of winter tyres on each axle is compulsory between 1st November and 15th April. Alternatively, snow chains may be used on the driving axles(s) provided the road is covered with a layer of snow or black ice.

Snow Chains - are compulsory on roads where road signage indicates their usage. Chains must be fitted to both wheel on the same drive axle.

BELGIUM

Winter tyres - The use of winter tyres is not compulsory however, where used, the speed rating of the winter tyres must be sufficient for the vehicle and cannot be used between 1st April and 30th October.

Snow Chains - Are not compulsory but are acceptable only where roads have a covering of snow or black ice.

BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA

Winter tyres - Are compulsory between 15th November and 15th April. Snow chains can be used with summer tyres as an alternative.

Snow Chains - It is compulsory to carry snow chains and a shovel within the vehicle between 1st November and 15th April.

BULGARIA

Winter Tyres - Bulgaria does not have mandatory legislation regarding the use of winter tyres.

Snow Chains - It is compulsory to carry snow chains between 1st November and 31st March. Snow chains must be used where indicated on at least one set of driven wheels.

CROATIA

Winter tyres - In sleet, snow and ice, the vehicle must have at least two winter type tyres fitted to the drive axle with a minimum tread depth of 4mm. (Hometyre always recommend that a vehicle is fitted with a full set of winter tyres)

Snow Chains - It is compulsory to carry snow chains and a shovel. Chains must be used for black ice conditions or where a minimum of 5cm of snow is present. At least one set should be fitted to the drive axle.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Winter Tyres - The use of winter tyres can be rendered compulsory by means of a roadside sign between 1st November and 1st April and must have a minimum of 4mm of tread depth.

Snow Chains - The use of snow chains can be rendered compulsory by means of a traffic sign. A set of chains must fitted on the driving axle. Maximum speed 50 km/hr.

DENMARK

Winter tyres - Denmark does not have mandatory legislation regarding the use of winter tyres.

Snow Chains - The use of chains is permitted where the conditions are appropriate.

ESTONIA

Winter tyres - Are compulsory between 1st December to the end of February. This period can be extended should the weather conditions warrant it. Please check before you visit.

Snow Chains - It is not compulsory to carry or use snow chains.

FINLAND

Winter tyres - Are compulsory with a minimum tread depth of 3mm between 1st December to the end of February for all vehicles with a GVW not exceeding 3500kg.

Snow Chains - It is not compulsory to carry snow chains.

FRANCE

Winter tyres - are not compulsory. in the case of an accident however, the lack of winter tyre fitment can constitute a decisive argument for determining the responsibility for the damage. Only on specific roads can roadside signage indicate the compulsory usage of winter.

Snow Chains - It is not compulsory to carry snow chains other than on the French access road to the Mont Blanc tunnel where it is compulsory to have snow chains aboard between 1 October and 30 April. Chains are allowed on snow-covered roads, regardless of the period.
Fitting of snow chains is compulsory on some mountain passes. This is indicated by means of traffic signs. The compulsory use of snow chains for vehicles of which at least two wheels of the driving axle are equipped with winter tyres or tyres with spikes expires.
The number of chains has not been described precisely. Article 9 of the decree of 18 July 1985 states: removable anti-grid systems must guarantee the departure, the control and the braking of the vehicle.

GERMANY

Winter tyres - The law states: In the case of motor vehicles the equipment should be adapted to the weather conditions¬Ě. This particularly includes suitable tyres. This regulation does not apply to trailers and caravans.
In the event unsuitable tyres are used, a driver is in violation and risks a fine. Moreover, involvement in a traffic accident beyond the own culpability may lead to joint liability as a result of which the civil liability insurance only covers 70 to 80% of the damage in some instances. Use of unsuitable tyres can moreover be considered gross negligence so that the all-risk insurance may become null and void.

Snow Chains
- Chains must be fitted on the tyres of the driving axle of the towing vehicle if this is prescribed by means of a traffic sign (regulation only applies to vehicles with more than two wheels) with a maximum speed of 50 km/hr. Snow chains are allowed on trailers if the towing vehicle is equipped with the same.

GREECE

Winter tyres - There is no mandatory legislation concerning the use of winter tyres

Snow Chains - are permitted for use should weather conditions dictate.

HUNGARY

Winter tyres - There is no mandatory legislation regarding the use of winter tyres in Hungary.

Snow Chains - are compulsory to carry in the event of wintry conditions. Border controls will deny access to any vehicle without sufficient chains. Speed is restricted to 50km/hour when chains are fitted. Chains must be fitted across at least one drive axle and if used on dry roads will result in a fine to the driver.

ICELAND

Winter tyres - are compulsory from 1st November through to 14th April. The specific dates may alter year to year. Please check with your travel agent prior to driving in the country.

IRELAND

Winter tyres - There is no mandatory regulation or legislation regarding the use of winter tyres.

Snow Chains - are permitted in the event of severe winter conditions.

ITALY

Winter tyres - are only compulsory on specific roads and denoted by specific roadside signage. Otherwise, winter tyres are not compulsory. However, lack of winter tyres during poor weather conditions would constitute an important factor in terms of liability in case of an accident or collision.

Snow Chains - It is not compulsory to have chains aboard the vehicle, except in the Alps where it is compulsory to carry chains between 15th October and 30th April.
In the rest of Italy a vehicle must be equipped with snow chains (or winter tyres all-round) if this is indicated by traffic signs. Snow chains must always be fitted on the driving axle of the vehicle.

LATVIA

Winter tyres - are compulsory for all vehicles with a GVW of less than 3500kg from 1st December to 1st March.

Snow Chains
- are not compulsory to carry or use.

LITHUANIA

Winter tyres - are compulsory for all vehicles up to and including a maximum GVW of 3500kg from 10th November to 1st April and must have a tread depth of  no less than 3mm.

Snow Chains - are not compulsory to carry or use.

LUXEMBOURG

Winter tyres - are not compulsory. However, in case unsuitable tyres are used in wintry conditions and other road users are consequently hindered you risk a fine. In case of an accident the lack of winter tyres constitutes an important argument for the allocation of the responsibility for the damage.
Winter tyres cannot be used in the period from 1st April up to 30th October if the speed rating of the winter tyres is insufficient for the speed of the car.

Snow Chains - Are only permissible in the event of snow or ice covered roads.

MACEDONIA

Winter tyres - are not compulsory however, where fitted, they must have a tread depth of no less than 5mm.

Snow Chains - Must be carried on the vehicle between 15th October and 15th March. Where used they must be fitted across a drive axle.

MOLDAVIA

Winter tyres - Moldavia has no mandatory regulations regarding winter tyres.

Snow Chains - Moldavia has no mandatory regulations regarding the use of snow chains.

NORWAY

Winter tyres - In the event of wintry conditions (ice, sleet, snow), all vehicles must have winter tyres fitted with no less than 3mm of tread depth remaining. As an alternative, summer tyres with chains fitted will suffice.

Snow tyres - The use of chains is prohibited between Easter Monday and the 31st October except in adverse weather conditions within this period. 

In Nordland, Troms and Finnmark the use is allowed between 15th October and 1st May.

POLAND

Winter tyres - There are no mandatory regulations regards the use of winter tyres in Poland. However, article 66.1 of the Act on Road Traffic states that each and every vehicle must be constructed, equipped and maintained in a manner that the use thereof neither jeopardises the passengers nor other road users.

*Hometyre recommend the fitting of a set of winter tyres when driving to and across this country.

Snow Chains - It is not compulsory to carry snow chains however, where traffic signs indicate there use is compulsory on certain roads, they must be fitted across a driven axle.

PORTUGAL

Winter tyres - There are no mandatory requirements regarding the use of winter tyres in Portugal.

Snow Chains - are compulsory for all roads where signage indicates such. Chains must be fitted across a driven axle.

ROMANIA

Winter tyres - There is no mandatory regulation regarding the use of winter tyres other than where fitted, they must have no less than 2mm of tread remaining.

Snow Chains - While it is not compulsory to carry chains, the use of them may be rendered compulsory in the event of adverse weather conditions.

*Hometyre advise you to carry snow chains when visiting Romania during winter months.

RUSSIA

Winter tyres - There is no mandatory regulation regarding winter tyres in Russia.

Snow Chains - are not compulsory.

SERBIA

Winter tyres - where fitted must have no less than 4mm of tread depth remaining.

SLOVAKIA

Winter tyres - There are no mandatory regulations regarding the fitment of winter tyres in Slovakia but in the event of an accident or collision, the lack of fitment could constitute an important argument for the allocation of the responsibility for the damage

Snow Chains - are not compulsory to carry or use snow chains.

SLOVENIA

Winter tyres - Winter equipment is compulsory for all motor vehicles, also for foreign vehicles from 15th November to 15th March. During this period, if required by weather conditions, winter tyres must be fitted, or the vehicle must carry and use snow chains. Winter tyres must have no less than 3mm of tread remaining.

Snow Chains - are compulsory to carry as well as a shovel. 4x4 vehicles must be equipped with chains to the rear axle.

SPAIN

Winter tyres/Snow Chains - Are only compulsory or designated and signed roads. Please check your route before travelling.

SWEDEN

Winter tyres - are compulsory for vehicles up to and including a GVW of 3500kg from 1st December to 31st March during wintry conditions and with a tread depth of no less than 3mm remaining. The regulation is not applicable to foreign cars but fitment is recommended to avoid liability issues in the event of accident or collision.

Snow Chains - can be fitted as an alternative to winter tyres must be fitted to each road wheel.

SWITZERLAND

Winter tyres - can be rendered compulsory on very specific roads and will be clearly indicated as such via road signage. There are no general mandatory regulations for the use of winter tyres otherwise but the lack of fitment can constitute an important argument in the event of accident or collision.

Snow Chains - are compulsory only on indicated roads. Chains must be fitted across a driven axle and must be constructed of metal or a comparably FRA approved material.

TURKEY

Winter tyres - There is no mandatory regulation regarding the use of winter tyres in Turkey.

Snow Chains - are compulsory to carry in certain areas of the country. Check with your travel advisor before driving across the country.

UKRAINE

Winter tyres - There is no mandatory regulation regarding the use of winter tyres in the Ukraine.

Snow Chains - are not compulsory to carry or use but it is advised to carry a set during winter travel across the country.

UNITED KINGDOM

Winter tyres - There is no mandatory regulation regarding the use of winter tyres in the UK at present.

Snow Chains - are permitted only for use on snow or ice covered roads where the road surface would not be damaged.

PLEASE NOTE: This information is given purely as a guide and should not be deemed to be 100% accurate. Local regulations change and you should always contact your travel adviser or check online with local authorities before planning your travel.

Hometyre accept no responsibilty for any issue that may arise from following the information listed on this site.

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