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In which countries are winter tyres mandatory?

Planning a skiing trip to Austria, Switzerland or Germany this winter? Have you thought about your tyres? Regulations on winter tyres, studded tyres and snow chains vary between countries. To avoid being fined, it’s a good idea to check before your leave! Here’s a handy summary of all the winter tyre legislation in force in Europe...
tyre-legislation

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Winter tyre rules vary from one country to another

Each European country adopts its own rules for winter tyres, studded tyres and snow chains. In France, as in the UK, winter tyres are not mandatory (although strongly recommended for your safety in low temperatures). However, in neighbouring countries such as Germany, Austria, Luxembourg or even Italy, there are strict rules on the use of winter tyres.

Note that several aspects of tyre law vary between European countries, so it’s not just a question of whether or not you need winter tyres and when.  We recommend you check the details of tyre legislation in the countries you’re travelling through before you leave. Simple errors such as not having sufficient tread depth could lead to an on-the-spot fine if you’re not careful.

Winter tyre regulations by country

Albania

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement.
  • Snow chains: Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs
  • Studded tyres: Authorised

Austria

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory in winter conditions from 01/11 to 15/04. The tread depth of your tyres must be at least 4 mm. Your alternative is to fit snow chains on a least two drive wheels. If you fail to comply, you risk a fine of €5000
  • Snow chains: Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs
  • Studded tyres: Authorised from 01/10 to 31/05. Maximum speed 50 mph (60 mph on motorways). Sticker is mandatory

Belgium

  • Winter tyres: Not mandatory but recommended. Winter tyres with a speed rating less than 75 mph are prohibited from 01/04 to 30/10.
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised from 01/11 to 31/03. Maximum speed 35 mph (55 mph on dual carriageways and motorways). Sticker is mandatory

Belarus

  • Winter tyres: Not mandatory but strongly recommended in winter conditions
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised

Bosnia-Herzegovina

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory from 15/11 (15/10 in the North) until the 1st Sunday after Easter
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited

Bulgaria

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory from November to March
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited

Czech Republic

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory from 01/11 to 31/03 in winter conditions or if indicated by traffic signs. The tread depth of your tyres must be at least 4 mm
  • Snow chains: Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited

Croatia

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement. However, it is recommended to have winter equipment (chains for example): they may be required on certain sections of the road.
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited

Denmark

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised from 01/11 to 15/04

Estonia

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory from 01/12 to 01/03
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised from 01/10 to 01/05

Finland

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory between 01/12 and the last day in February. This is also valid for caravans. The tread depth of your tyres must be at least 3 mm
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised from 01/11 until the first Monday after Easter

France

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement, unless traffic signs. The tread depth of your tyres must be at least 3.5 mm
  • Snow chains: Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs
  • Studded tyres: Authorised from the Saturday before 11/11 until the last Sunday in March. Maximum speed 55 mph. Sticker is mandatory.

Germany

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory in winter conditions. Your tyres must be marked with the 3PMSF symbol (winter tyres or all season tyres). The groove depth must not be less than 1.6 mm.
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited, except for some municipalities near the Austrian border.

Greece

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised

Hungary

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement except for taxis driving in Budapest between 15/10 and 15/03 as per the regulation 31/2013. (IV. 18.) Főv. Kgy
  • Snow chains: Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited

Ireland

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised

Iceland

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory from 01/11 to 15/04
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised. Maximum speed 55 mph

Italy

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory from 15/11 to 15/04, with an extension or reduction of the duration depending on road and weather conditions. To find out more, visit the Pneumatici sotto controllo website. Your alternative is to fit snow chains.
  • Snow chains: Authorised, alternative to winter tyres
  • Studded tyres: Authorised from 15/11 to 15/03. Studs must not exceed 1.5mm. Maximum speed 55 mph (75 mph on motorways). Mudguards are mandatory

Latvia

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory from 01/12 to 15/03
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised from 02/10 to 30/04

Liechtenstein

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement
  • Snow chains: Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs
  • Studded tyres: Authorised from 01/11 to 30/04 (except on dual carriageways and motorways). Speed limited to 55 mph. Sticker is mandatory

Lithuania

  • Winter tyres: Summer tyres prohibited from 10/11 to 01/04.
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised from 01/11 to 10/04. Sticker is mandatory

Luxembourg

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory in winter conditions
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised from 01/11 to 30/04. Speed limited to 50mph (60mph on motorways). Sticker is mandatory

Malta

  • Winter tyres: No specific regulations

Macedonia

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory from 15/11 to 15/03
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited

Moldavia

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement, but strongly recommended in winter conditions
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised

Montenegro

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory from 15/11 to 31/03
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited

Norway

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement, but strongly recommended in winter conditions
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised from 01/11 until the first Sunday after Easter (from 15/10 to 01/04 in the provinces of Nordland, Troms, Finnmark)

Netherlands

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement
  • Snow chains: Prohibited
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited

Poland

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement, but strongly recommended in winter conditions
  • Snow chains: Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited

Portugal

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited

Romania

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory from 01/11 to 31/03
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited

Russia

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory from December to February in accordance with Road Police Regulations
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised

Serbia

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory from 01/11 to 01/04
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited

Slovakia

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory in winter conditions
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited

Slovenia

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory from 15/11 to 15/03. The tread depth of your tyres must be at least 3 mm
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Prohibited

Spain

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement
  • Snow chains: Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs
  • Studded tyres: Authorised

Sweden

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory in winter conditions from 01/12 to 31/03. The tread depth of your tyres must be at least 3 mm
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised from 01/10 to 15/04 (except in some districts of Stockholm, Uppsala and Gothenburg).

Switzerland

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement, but strongly recommended in winter conditions. (If your vehicle blocks the road due to inappropriate equipment, you risk a fine.)
  • Snow chains: Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs
  • Studded tyres: Authorised from 01/11 to 30/04. Maximum speed 50 mph. Sticker is mandatory. Prohibited on motorways except on the A13 between Thusis and Mesocco (San Bernardino tunnel) and the A12 between Airolo and Götschen (St Gothard tunnel).

Turkey

  • Winter tyres: Mandatory for vehicles carrying goods and persons between 01/12 and 01/04, will soon be mandatory for private vehicles.
  • Snow chains: Mandatory in snow, only authorised on snow-covered or icy roads
  • Studded tyres: Authorised

Ukraine

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement, but strongly recommended in winter conditions.
  • Snow chains: Authorised
  • Studded tyres: Authorised

United Kingdom

  • Winter tyres: No legal requirement
  • Snow chains: Authorised on roads completely covered with snow or ice
  • Studded tyres: Authorised as long as the driver does not damage the road,which could result in a fine

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