Winter driving abroad
If you're planning a winter break it pays to fit winter tyres.
Winter tyre legislation around Europe
Key M = Mandatory to fit winter tyres - R = Recommended to fit winter tyres
All vehicles driving on snow covered roads must have winter tyres (or all-season tyres marked M&S/mud and snow) during the winter season (from 1 November to 15 April) and if roads have a covering of snow, slush or ice outside these dates. Tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 4mm.
Winter tyres are compulsory in Estonia (December 1st- April 1st), Lithuania (November 10th - April 1st), Latvia (December 1st - February 29th) and Slovakia (November 15th - March 31st).
From 1 December to the end of February (in practice from November to April) unless otherwise indicated by road signs. Tyres must be marked M&S on the sidewall. Spiked/studded tyres may be used from 1 November to the first Monday after Easter.
Germany has recently (4 December 2010) introduced new regulations requiring all passenger cars and motorbikes including vehicles from foreign countries to be fitted with winter tyres or all season tyres on all axles when conditions are wintry. Winter tyres (or 'all season' tyres) should bear the mark M&S or the snowflake symbol on the side wall.
Winter tyres, marked M+S (with or without spikes/studs), with a tread depth of at least 3mm are compulsory from 1 December until 31 March for Swedish registered vehicles and trailers and also for foreign registered vehicles.
Winter tyres are recommended when driving in Andorra and snow chains must be used when road conditions or signs indicate on at least two drive wheels. Only use snow chains when there is sufficient snow covering - a fine may be imposed if damage is caused to the road surface.
At present there is no cold weather tyre legislation in the UK, however the average temperature in the UK from October 2009 to March 2010 was 2.5°C, and there were 149* days below 7°C. Fitting winter tyres when the temperature is under 7°C is recommended. Please see 7 key reasons for the benefits of using winter tyres.
From 15th October to 15th April vehicles must be equipped with cold weather tyres or snow chains in the Val d'Aosta area.
Norwegian law requires "tyres with sufficient grip" and at least 3mm tread. The Scandinavian Tire & Rim Organization (STRO) recommends fitting winter tyres for Winter driving.
Snow tyres are not compulsory but vehicles not equipped to travel through snow and which impede traffic are liable to a fine.
Winter tyres are not mandatory, however the use of Winter equipment like Winter chains or spikes are required on specific roads.
Check all tyres for condition, pressure and tread depth. Where winter tyres are fitted a minimum tread depth of 3mm is required in most countries (the Czech Republic now requires 4mm).