SPONSORED: Legal requirements for winter tyres in Europe
Are you planning to take a trip by car driving through Europe this winter season? If so it is of outmost importance that you check the legal requirements for carrying winter tyres. Especially in Northern European countries, winter road conditions can be very challenging for UK drivers who are not very familiar with driving on snow and ice.
Southern Europe gets snow on higher altitudes
In most Southern European countries you seldom get snow on lower altitudes and snow tires are not mandatory. But there are situations when you still would want to use winter tyres. Maybe you are planning a ski trip to the Italian Alps. Snow tyres are recommended in Italy but if you chose not to carry them you need to bring snow chains. Winter conditions can get severe in the High Alps and snow chains are a minimum to be able to get through, if a blizzard hits. There are also, so called, snow socks that can be used as an alternative.
Winter tyres legally required in some Central European countries
The rules for carrying special tyres during winter vary for Central European countries like France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In Germany and Austria it is mandatory to carry winter tyres but in France and Switzerland it is only recommended. Even if not mandatory it is always better to use them if you think you are going to encounter colder conditions. Winter tyres always perform better than summer tyres in temperatures below 7 degrees C. Winter tyres have different rubber compounds and give you a better grip on ice and snow. Always check the weather before you decide what type of tyres to carry during your trip.
Studded snow tyres preferred in Northern Europe
In Northern European countries like Sweden and Finland you are legally required to carry winter tyres. A lot of people use the studded tyres for increased grip on ice. If you are caught driving on summer tyres you will be fined. It is also more likely that you will be considered the responsible part if you are involved in an accident because you did not meet the legal requirements. There is also a risk that your insurance will not cover the accident if you drive illegally. But, most of all, you want to be as safe as possible when driving during winter.
So be prepared. Always check the legal requirement for the specific country you are going to, check the weather and also prepare and emergency kit for winter. Shopping online can fill most car equipment and spare part needs.