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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

Country

Winter tyres

Snow chains

Studded tyres

Albania

No legal requirement

Authorised

Authorised

Germany

Mandatory in winter conditions.

Your tyres must be marked with the M+S symbol (winter tyres or all season tyres).

The groove depth must not be less than 1.6 mm.

Germany

Prohibited, except for some municipalities near the Austrian border.

Austria

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 at least two drive wheels. If you fail to comply, you risk a fine of €5000 

Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs

Authorised from 01/10 to 31/05. Maximum speed 50 mph (60 mph on motorways). Sticker is mandatory

Belgium

Not mandatory but recommended.

Winter tyres with a speed rating less than 75 mph are prohibited from 01/04 to 30/10.

Not mandatory but recommended.

Winter tyres with a speed rating less than 75 mph are prohibited from 01/04 to 30/10.

Authorised from 01/11 to 31/03. Maximum speed 35 mph (55 mph on dual carriageways and motorways). Sticker is mandatory

Belarus

Not mandatory but strongly recommended in winter conditions

Authorised

Authorised

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Mandatory from 15/11 (15/10 in the North) until the 1st Sunday after Easter

Authorised

Prohibited

Bulgaria

Mandatory from November to March

Authorised

Prohibited

Czech Republic

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

Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs

Prohibited

Croatia

No legal requirement.

However, it is recommended to have winter equipment (chains for example): they may be required on certain sections of the road.

Authorised

Prohibited

Denmark

No legal requirement

Authorised

Authorised from 01/11 to 15/04

Spain

No legal requirement

Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs

Authorised

Estonia

Mandatory from 01/12 to 01/03

Authorised

Authorised from 01/10 to 01/05

Finland

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

Authorised

Authorised from 01/11 until the first Monday after Easter

France

No legal requirement, unless traffic signs.

The tread depth of your tyres must be at least 3.5 mm

Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs

Authorised from the Saturday before 11/11 until the last Sunday in March. Maximum speed 55 mph. Sticker is mandatory.

Greece

No legal requirement

Authorised

Authorised

Hungary

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

Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs

Prohibited

Ireland

No legal requirement

Authorised

Authorised

Iceland

Mandatory from 01/11 to 15/04

Authorised

Authorised. Maximum speed 55 mph

Italy

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.

Authorised: alternative to winter 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

Mandatory from 01/12 to 15/03 

Authorised

Authorised from 02/10 to 30/04

Liechtenstein

No legal requirement

Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs

Authorised from 01/11 to 30/04 (except on dual carriageways and motorways). Speed limited to 55 mph. Sticker is mandatory

Lithuania

Summer tyres prohibited from 10/11 to 01/04.

Authorised

Authorised from 01/11 to 10/04. Sticker is mandatory

Luxembourg

Mandatory in winter conditions

Authorised

Authorised from 01/11 to 30/04. Speed limited to 50mph (60mph on motorways). Sticker is mandatory

Malta

No specific regulations

Macedonia

Mandatory from 15/11 to 15/03

Authorised

Prohibited

Moldavia

No legal requirement, but strongly recommended in winter conditions 

Authorised

Authorised

Montenegro

Mandatory from 15/11 to 31/03

Authorised

Prohibited

Norway

No legal requirement, but strongly recommended in winter conditions

Authorised

Authorised from 01/11 until the first Sunday after Easter (from 15/10 to 01/04 in the provinces of Nordland, Troms, Finnmark)

Netherlands

No legal requirement

Prohibited

Prohibited

Poland

No legal requirement, but strongly recommended in winter conditions

Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs

Prohibited

Portugal

No legal requirement

Authorised

Prohibited

Romania

Mandatory from 01/11 to 31/03

Authorised

Prohibited

Russia

Mandatory from December to February in accordance with Road Police Regulations

Authorised

Authorised

Serbia

Mandatory from 01/11 to 01/04

Authorised

Prohibited

Slovakia

Mandatory in winter conditions

Authorised

Prohibited

Slovenia

Mandatory from 15/11 to 15/03.

The tread depth of your tyres must be at least 3 mm

Authorised

Prohibited

Sweden

Mandatory in winter conditions from 01/12 to 31/03. The tread depth of your tyres must be at least 3 mm

Authorised

Authorised from 01/10 to 15/04 (except in some districts of Stockholm, Uppsala and Gothenburg).

Switzerland

No legal requirement, but strongly recommended in winter conditions.

(If your vehicle blocks the road due to inappropriate equipment, you risk a fine.)

Authorised, mandatory if indicated by traffic signs

Authorised from 01/11 to 30/04. Maximum speed 50mph. 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

Mandatory for vehicles carrying goods and persons between 01/12 and 01/04, will soon be mandatory for private vehicles.

Mandatory in snow, only authorised on snow-covered or icy roads

Authorised

Ukraine

No legal requirement, but strongly recommended in winter conditions.

Authorised

Authorised

United Kingdom

No legal requirement

Authorised on roads completely covered with snow or ice

Authorised as long as the driver does not damage the road,which could result in a fine

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