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European Laws

 

Germany

Winter tires are compulsory in Bavaria when driving in wintry conditions and a small fine will be levied for a first offence. If, however, the free flow of traffic has been affected due to a car not being equipped with Winter tires then the fine is doubled and the driver's license will incur a penalty point. In the event of a car fitted with Summer tires being responsible for a road accident then the fine will be further increased and 3 penalty points attributed to the license. The lack of Winter tires in such a situation will usually be judged as a significant factor in judging which driver is at fault in a traffic incident or road accident. The user of a vehicle without Winter tires may well find the motor insurance to be invalidated.


Austria

The use of winter tires is mandatory by law between November 1 and April 15. All-season tires comply if they carry the M+S mark and have at least 4 mm of tread. In addition, the use of snow chains may be made compulsory by the local police when heavy snow is falling or has fallen. Failure to comply with the law results in a fine up to 5,000 Euros and the vehicle's use suspended. Insurance is deemed void if a vehicle which is involved in an accident between November 1 and April 15 is not fitted with Winter tires.


France

The use of winter tires is not mandatory in France. Nevertheless in some situations special signs indicate that winter tires should be used. In mountainous areas signs warn drivers that snow chains are necessary. In France, drivers of automobiles that weigh up to 3.5 tonnes can use spikes from November until the end of March. Vehicles using spikes are restricted to a maximum speed of 90 km/h on out-of-town roads and 50 km/h in residential areas. In addition vehicles have to bare a badge indicating the use of spikes.


Switzerland

The Swiss regulations are similar to those used in France. There is no general obligation to use winter tires, although most motorist associations highly recommend the use of winter tires for insurance reasons. If an accident has been caused by the use of summer tires during the winter months this can lead to liability on the part of the driver, regardless of whether or not they have fully comprehensive insurance. Snow chains and spikes are generally optional, but their use can be enforced through road signs. Drivers using spikes are not generally allowed on motorways. Again, 50km/h and 80km/h speed limits are in place, in and out of town.


Italy

It is not compulsory to use winter tires in Italy although you are obliged to when the authorities request it. There are no regulations on the use of snow chains. Motorists using spikes have to comply with 90km/h and 50 km/h speed limits.


Finland

In Finland winter tires are compulsory on all vehicles driven in the country between 1st December and 1st March.


Latvia

In Latvia winter tires are compulsory on all vehicles driven in the country between 1st December and 1st March.


Norway

As in Latvia, Norwegian drivers must ensure that winter tires are fitted during the coldest months. Winter tires are not, however, mandatory for cars registered outside of the country.


Sweden

Swedish drivers must ensure that winter tires are fitted during the coldest months. Winter tires are not, however, mandatory for cars registered outside of the country.


Slovenia

From 15 November until 15 March Slovenian motorists are legally required to use winter equipment. This means either winter tires or radial tires with a minimum tread depth of 4 mm. According to Slovenian law two winter tires per automobile is sufficient.


Czech Republic

From 01 November until 30 April vehicles in the Czech Republic are required to be fitted with winter equipment if being driven in wintry conditions. This means either winter tires or radial tires with a minimum tread depth of 4 mm.


Slovakia

Cars are required to be fitted with Winter tires if driven in wintry conditions.


Hungary

Cars are required to be fitted with Winter tires and must carry a set of snow-chains during periods of wintry conditions.


Croatia

Cars are required to be fitted with Winter tires and must carry a set of snow-chains during periods of wintry conditions.


Estonia

Cars are required to be fitted with Winter tires and must carry a set of snow-chains during periods of wintry conditions.


Lapland

Cars are required to be fitted with Winter tires and must carry a set of snow-chains during periods of wintry conditions.


United Kingdom

The use of Winter tires is not compulsory in the United Kingdom. 

 

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