Winter equipment in Europe

In most countries, there are no major specifics regarding the use of winter equipment. The minimum tread depth on winter tires ranges from 3 to 4 mm. Only in Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Romania and Sweden, as well as in mountainous regions, or where specified by a special sign, in Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland and Austria - tires with nails.

Winter equipment is specified by the date on the roads: u Finland from 1.11. to 31.3., at Latvia and Lithuania from 1.12. to 31.4., at Estonia from 1.12. to 1.3., at Sweden from 1.12. to 31.3., at Norway, as well as Romania from 1.11. to 31.3.

Austria


For vehicles with a maximum weight of up to 3.5 t, winter equipment is obligatory from 1 November to 15 April at the time of winter driving conditions. It is then compulsory to use winter tires with a minimum tread depth of 4 mm, or summer tires with a minimum tread depth of 4 mm and with snow chains on the drive wheels. For vehicles fitted with winter tires, snow chains are required for heavy snowfall and when required by the traffic sign.

Vehicles with a maximum permissible mass exceeding 3,5 t must be from 15.11. to 15.4. (irrespective of weather conditions) fitted with winter tires on the drive shaft and fitted with appropriately large snow chains for the drive shaft.

Chains are permitted on sections with snow or icy roadways, and are not allowed on roads with clear or partial snow. Penalty for non-compliance is € 35 and up to € 5,000 in the event of a traffic threat.


Bosnia and Herzegovina

In the period from 15 November to 15 April of the following year, regardless of the weather conditions, all motor vehicles must have adequate winter equipment and must use it when the snow is on the roadway, or when it is turned off or icy or when it rains ice on the ground. Pursuant to Article 4 of the Ordinance on winter traffic (dated 02/02/2007).

For passenger motor vehicles and other motor vehicles with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes and no more than 8 seats, winter equipment is: winter tires on all four wheels. The winter tire (tire) on its side has the markings: MS, M + S or M&S and a snowflake sign on a stylized outline of a three-peak mountain with a tread depth of at least 4 mm or tires with a summer tread whose tread depth is layers of minimum 4 mm and fittings (for mounting on drive wheels during winter conditions).


For vehicles with a maximum mass of over 3.5 tonnes and buses, winter tires must be on drive wheels, or summer profile tires with a profile depth of at least 4 mm and with accessories (fitted to drive wheels in winter conditions) In winter equipment vehicles above 3 , 5 tons are a shovel and a bag of sand from 25 to 50 kg.

Montenegro

The use of winter equipment for motor vehicles is compulsory between November 15 and March 30. Compulsory winter equipment for motor vehicles and trailers means snow chains ready to be fitted to the drive wheels, tires with a minimum groove depth of 4 mm, with the tires on the drive wheels being winter tires or tires marked MS, M + S or M&S, in accordance with the Regulations on the conditions that road vehicles must meet in terms of dimensions, total mass, axle load, environmental protection, appliances and equipment.

In addition to lorries and buses, winter equipment includes a shovel and a bag of sand. The ordinance also stipulates that tires with nails must not be fitted to vehicles.

The fine prescribed by applicable law for not owning winter equipment is 20 euros, the fine for not using winter equipment is 20 euros (when there is snow and ice on the pavement and there is a traffic sign - snow chains and the driver does not put chains on the wheels).

As of January 6, 2013, the (new) law on road traffic safety, for non-possession of winter equipment, the height stipulates fines of 60 to 150 euros, while for non-use of the equipment provides fines of 80 to 300 euros (when there is snow on the pavement and ice but the driver does not put chains on the wheels). Drivers who do not own winter gear are excluded from traffic.

Czech Republic

From November 1 to March 31, winter equipment on the roads is mandatory where it will be marked with the appropriate sign. The penalty for not applying is 2000 CZK. Winter equipment is compulsory, regardless of the weather, on the D1, Prague - Brno motorway, on the Mirošovica - Kyvalka section (21 to 186 km), as well as on numerous regional and local roads (marked with winter signs).

Winter equipment for vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes (maximum permissible weight) are 4 winter (M + S) tires or 4 summer tires with a "profile" of at least 4 mm depth. For vehicles with more than 3.5 tonnes, the same tires are prescribed, however, the drive wheels must be with tires, as in the case of summer tires, with at least 6 mm deep profile (with snow chains on drive wheels with summer tires).Snow chains may only be used on pavements completely covered with snow.

France

Vehicles must be equipped with winter equipment when winter conditions (snow on the roadway) are advertised or when a mandatory sign (eg chains) is indicated by a traffic sign.

Italy

Winter equipment is legally required in the Aosta Valley area, where it is mandatory from 15.10. to 30.4. In all other areas, the use of winter equipment is mandatory during winter driving conditions. Winter or summer tires with snow chains are permitted. If you are on mountain (alpine) roads, it is advised that you have snow chains and a shovel attached.

Hungary

In Hungary, winter equipment is not legally required, but heavy snow or heavy snow is required to use snow chains on drive wheels. In such cases, the use of snow chains is required when crossing the border.

Macedonia

In Macedonia, winter gear is mandatory between November 15 and March 15. Motor vehicle winter equipment up to 3.5 t (excluding all-wheel drive vehicles) includes: 4 winter tires with at least 4 mm profile, or 4 summer tires with at least 4 mm profile + snow chains on the drive wheels.

Winter equipment for all-wheel drive vehicles: 4 winter tires with at least 6 mm profile, or 4 summer tires with at least 6 mm profile + snow chains on the drive wheels.

Vehicle winter equipment above 3.5 t: are winter tires with at least 6 mm all-wheel profile, or summer tires with at least 6 mm profile + snow chains on drive wheels. A small snow shovel is also required.

Germany

The law states that all vehicles must be fitted with suitable tires during winter conditions (snow on the road, wet or wet, freezing) - all four bearing the M + S mark or snowflake symbol. The law does not specifically require a minimum depth of tire profile, and summer tire tires are not appropriate.

The use of winter tires on the drive axle is prescribed for trucks over 3.5 t. The penalty for not using winter equipment is 40 Euros and the minimum fine is 80 Euros in the event of a traffic hazard. The regulations apply equally to citizens of Germany and citizens of other countries.

Poland

Vehicles must be equipped with winter equipment at the time of winter driving conditions, that is, when a mandatory sign is indicated by a traffic sign, for example a sign with snow chains.

Slovakia

During winter driving conditions winter tires (M + S) with a minimum tread depth of 3 mm are required on all wheels. Summer tires are allowed, but with snow chains in the boot. For buses and trucks, winter tires (with a minimum of 3mm deep grooves) are required between November 15 (current) and March 31 (next year). Independent of winter conditions!

Slovenia

In Slovenia, the use of winter equipment is dated - between 15 November and 15 March vehicles must be equipped with winter equipment. It is made up of 4 winter tires (marked with the letters M + S, snowflake or winter) and with a minimum tread depth of 3 mm or 4 summer tires with a minimum tread depth of 3 mm and with snow chains in the boot (accessory). All-wheel-drive vehicles are required to have snow chains on their wheels on a permanently engaged drive axle when using summer tires.

Vehicles with a maximum mass exceeding 3.5 t must have winter tires on the drive wheels, or if they have summer tires on all wheels, they must have adequate snow chains (for drive wheels) and a shovel in the accessories.

On the part of Slovenia by the sea (on the roads from Kozina to Koper and Portorož) such winter equipment is not required. On this part, the minimum winter equipment for all vehicles is 4 summer tires with 3mm profiles. On the road from Rijeka to Kozina, winter equipment applies, as it does in the interior of Slovenia

The penalty for driving without winter equipment has been reduced from EUR 120 to EUR 40 this year. Other penalties are: for uncleaned snow from the car 200 euros, non-compliance with the traffic sign prohibiting driving due to winter conditions 300 euros, creating traffic difficulties, eg closed road due to poor winter equipment 500 euros, and for companies penalties even more - 1,000 euros.

Serbia

The new Ordinance on the division of motor vehicles and trailers and technical conditions for road vehicles has been in force since 4 May 2012. As regards mandatory and winter equipment, the Ordinance provides that vehicles must be equipped with all four winter tires in the period from 1 November to 1 April if snow, ice or ice are present on the roadway due to weather conditions.

Tread depth on winter tires should not be less than 4 mm. If the weather conditions during the winter season are such that there is no snow and ice on the roadway, winter tires will not be mandatory. Outside the stated period, vehicles may be equipped with winter equipment.

During this period, it is compulsory to have chains, or other devices for increasing the traction in the boot, outside the village. The chains are mounted on the drive wheels on the road sections which are marked with the obligation to use the chains when snow is on the roadway.

In the resort, vehicles need not be equipped with chains or other traction augmentation devices.Regarding mandatory equipment, the bulb kit is no longer required.

Switzerland

The use of winter equipment is not timed, it is obligatory only during winter conditions (snow on the road or ice) or when marked with a traffic sign. If a snow chain sign is highlighted then this applies to all vehicles except those with all-wheel drive.

In the case of a car accident in winter conditions, it is easy to attach blame to vehicles without adequate winter equipment. Before leaving for Switzerland, in the winter, be aware of the weather conditions in the area of ​​highland crossings because winter equipment (eg snow chains) is mandatory there.

More information on HAK website

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