Trucks on a motorway in winter Depending on the country, special equipment may be needed in winter weather - Photo credits ©: iStockphoto.com/rezulteo.com

European regulations for winter equipment vary widely from one country to another. The obligation to fit winter tyres may be subject to weather conditions, road signs or seasonality. Before driving in a foreign country, it is important to be aware of the regulations for winter equipment. This article reviews the regulations in force in all European Union countries.

Europe and winter legislation

Regulation map TK FR Photo credits ©: rezulteo

Winter equipment by country

 This information is provided by rezulteo for information purposes only. The rezulteo website cannot be held responsible for any changes to legislation. We recommend that before driving in a foreign country, each driver checks the legislation in force  with the local authorities.

 

AlbaniaGreat BritainNorway
GermanyHungaryNetherlands
AustriaIrelandPoland
BelgiumIcelandPortugal
BelarusItalyCzech Republic
BosniaKosovoRomania
BulgariaLatviaRussia
CroatiaLiechtensteinSerbia
DenmarkLithuaniaSlovakia
SpainLuxembourgSlovenia
EstoniaMaltaSweden
FinlandMacedoniaSwitzerland
FranceMoldaviaTurkey
GreeceMontenegroUkraine

 

Albania

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory.
  • Chains: compulsory on drive and trailer axles from November 1 to April 30 in certain regions or on certain roads.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

 

Germany

  • Winter tyres: compulsory on drive axles in winter conditions. M+S tyres suffice. The minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm on all axles.
  • Chains: compulsory on drive axles when indicated on road signs. If snow chains are fitted, the speed is limited to 31 mph (50 km/h).
  • Studded tyres: prohibited, except on the road via “Kleines deutsches Eck”.

 

Austria

  • Winter tyres: compulsory from November 1 to April 15 for vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes and until March 15 on buses with 8 seats or more. M+S tyres suffice and must be fitted on at least one drive axle. The minimum tyre tread depth is 5 mm for a bias tyre and 4 mm for a radial tyre.
  • Chains: must be carried in the vehicle. Exceptions for buses apply. Their use is compulsory when indicated on a road sign for at least two wheels of the drive axle from November 1 to April 15. Snow chains are prohibited in slush.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

 

Belgium

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory, but a symmetric fitting is required for winter tyres. M+S tyres suffice and the minimum tread depth is 2 mm.
  • Chains: only allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

 

Belarus

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory.
  • Chains: only allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice.
  • Studded tyres: allowed.

 

Bosnia-Herzegovina

  • Winter tyres: compulsory from November 15 to April 15. Tyres must have the 3PMSF (Three Peak Mountain Snow Flake) symbol and a minimum tread depth of 4mm.
  • Chains: must be carried in the vehicle, fitting at least two wheels on the drive axle from November 15 to April 15.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.
  • Other information: a snow shovel must be carried in the vehicle from November 15 to April 15.

Bulgaria

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory, the minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm.
  • Chains: a pair of snow chains must be carried in the vehicle from November 1 to March 31. Road signs indicate if snow chains are compulsory. They must be fitted on at least two drive wheels on the same axle.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

Croatia

  • Winter tyres: compulsory on drive axles in winter conditions. M+S tyres suffice and the minimum tread depth is 4 mm.
  • Chains: allowed on drive axles with summer tyres (minimum tread depth 4 mm).
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

Denmark

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory. When fitting winter tyres, they must be fitted on the same axle and have a minimum tread depth of 1 mm.
  • Chains: allowed on snow covered roads.
  • Studded tyres: allowed from November 1 to April 15. When fitting studded tyres, they must be fitted on all axles of the vehicle.

Spain

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory. M+S tyres may be compulsory when indicated on road signs or announced by local authorities.
  • Chains: may be compulsory when indicated on road signs or announced by local authorities.
  • Studded tyres: allowed.

Estonia

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory.
  • Chains: allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice.
  • Studded tyres: allowed from October 15 to March 31. This period may be extended from October 1 to April 31 on certain roads or depending on weather conditions.

Finland

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory, the minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm.
  • Chains: allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice.
  • Studded tyres: allowed from November 1 until Easter Monday depending on weather conditions. The average length of studs is set at 1.5 mm with a maximum of 150 studs per tyre. If studded tyres are fitted, the speed is limited to 50 mph (80 km/h).

France

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory, exceptions are indicated on road signs. The minimum tread depth is 1 mm.
  • Chains: compulsory when indicated on road signs.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, except for certain types of transport such as the transport of perishable or hazardous goods, medical transport or snow removal vehicles, which must obtain special permission from the prefecture, and whose conditions are set out by the Ministry of Transport.

Greece

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory, the minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm.
  • Chains: allowed in certain weather conditions.

Great Britain

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory, the minimum tread depth is 1 mm on all axles.
  • Chains: allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice.
  • Studded tyres: allowed providing that road surfaces are not damaged.

Hungary

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory. Minimum tread depth:
    - 1.6 mm if the overall tyre diameter is less than 0.75m
    - 3 mm if the overall tyre diameter is greater than 0.75m
  • Chains: allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice, they must be fitted on at least one drive axle. When chains are fitted, the speed is limited to 31 mph (50 km/h).
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

Ireland

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory, the minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm.
  • Chains: allowed providing that road surfaces are not damaged.
  • Studded tyres: allowed providing that road surfaces are not damaged.

Iceland

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory, the minimum tread depth is 1 mm.
  • Chains: allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice providing that road surfaces are not damaged.
  • Studded tyres: allowed from November 1 to April 15, this period may be extended depending on weather conditions. If studded tyres are fitted, the stud depth must be no more than 1.7 mm above the tyre surface and must not weigh more than 3g.

Italy

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory, exceptions are indicated on road signs. The minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm.
  • Chains: snow chains must be carried in the vehicle and are compulsory when indicated on road signs.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

Kosovo

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory.
  • Chains: compulsory on drive axles when indicated on road signs or in winter conditions.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

Latvia

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory.
  • Chains: allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice.
  • Studded tyres: allowed from October 1 to May 1.

Liechtenstein

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory.
  • Chains: compulsory when indicated on road signs.
  • Studded tyres: allowed from November 15 to April 15. If studded tyres are fitted, the speed is limited to 50 mph (80 km/h), they must be fitted on all axles and the tyres must be labelled with a sticker. They are prohibited on motorways.

Lithuania

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory.
  • Chains: only allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice.
  • Studded tyres: allowed from October 1 to April 1.

Luxembourg

  • Winter tyres: compulsory in winter conditions on all drive axles. M+S tyres suffice. The minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm.
  • Chains: allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

Malta

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory.
  • Chains: not compulsory.
  • Studded tyres: no regulations.

Macedonia

  • Winter tyres: 3PMSF tyres are compulsory on all axles from November 15 to March 15. The minimum tread depth is 6 mm.
  • Chains: must be carried in the vehicle from October 15 to March 15. It is possible to fit chains on drive axles with summer tyres (minimum tread depth 4mm) instead of fitting winter tyres.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.
  • Other information: a snow shovel must be carried in the vehicle.

Moldavia

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory.
  • Chains: not compulsory.
  • Studded tyres: no regulations.

Montenegro

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory.
  • Chains: allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

Norway

  • Winter tyres: compulsory from November 15 to March 31. In the Nordland, Troms and Finnmark regions, the minimum tread depth for winter tyres is 5mm between October 15 and April 30. In other regions, the minimum tread depth is also 5 mm from November 1 until the first Monday after Easter.
  • Chains: allowed throughout the year if snow or ice is forecast. They must be carried in the vehicle during winter periods.
  • Studded tyres: allowed from October 15 to April 30 in the Nordland, Troms and Finnmark regions and from November 1 until the first Monday after Easter in other regions. Studded tyres must be fitted on the same axle. For dual fitments, a studded tyre only needs to be fitted on one of the two wheels.

Netherlands

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory. The minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm.
  • Chains: prohibited.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

Poland

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory. The minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm.
  • Chains: allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice, compulsory if indicated on road signs.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

Portugal

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory. The minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm.
  • Chains: compulsory on drive axles when indicated on road signs.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

Czech Republic

  • Winter tyres: compulsory on drive axles if snow is forecast, on snow covered roads or if indicated on road signs, from November 1 to March 31. M+S tyres suffice. The minimum tread depth is 6 mm on drive axles and 4 mm on other axles.
  • Chains: allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice, compulsory if indicated on road signs. They must be fitted on a same axle. If snow chains are fitted, the speed is limited to 31 mph (50 km/h). They are prohibited on motorways.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

Romania

  • Winter tyres: compulsory in winter conditions on drive axles from November 1 to March 31. M+S tyres suffice. The minimum tread depth is 2 mm.
  • Chains: allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice. They must be carried in the vehicle. Chains must be fitted on drive axles when indicated on road signs.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.
  • Other information: a snow shovel must be carried in the vehicle.

Russia

  • Winter tyres: compulsory on all axles from December 1 to February 28 (this period may be extended depending on the region). M+S tyres suffice.
  • Chains: allowed.
  • Studded tyres: allowed from September to May. When studded tyres are fitted, they must be fitted on all axles.

Serbia

  • Winter tyres: compulsory on drive axles in winter conditions from November 1 to April 1. The minimum tread depth is 3 mm on drive axles and 4 mm on other axles. M+S tyres suffice.
  • Chains: allowed.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.
  • Other information: a snow shovel must be carried in the vehicle.

Slovakia

  • Winter tyres: compulsory on drive axles in winter conditions from November 15 to March 31. M+S tyres suffice. The minimum tread depth is 3 mm.
  • Chains: must be carried in the vehicle. Chains must be fitted when indicated on road signs or in winter conditions.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.

Slovenia

  • Winter tyres: compulsory on drive axles from November 15 to March 15. M+S tyres suffice. The minimum tread depth is 3 mm.
  • Chains: allowed on the drive axle with summer tyres (minimum tread depth 3 mm).
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.
  • Other information: a snow shovel must be carried in the vehicle.

Sweden

  • Winter tyres: compulsory on drive axles from December 1 to March 31. The minimum tread depth is 5 mm on drive and steer axles.
  • Chains: allowed.
  • Studded tyres: allowed from October 1 to April 15, this period may be extended depending on weather conditions. If studded tyres are fitted, they must be fitted on the same axle and each tyre must have no more than 150 studs.

Switzerland

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory. The minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm.
  • Chains: compulsory if indicated on a road sign or announced by the authorities.
  • Studded tyres: prohibited.
  • Other information: foreign vehicles are subject to the regulations of their country of origin for winter equipment. Nevertheless, foreign vehicles may be fined if they are not properly equipped and obstruct the flow of traffic.

Turkey

  • Winter tyres: compulsory from December 1 to April 1, this period may be extended by one month depending on weather conditions. M+S tyres suffice. The minimum tread depth is 4 mm.
  • Chains: snow chains must be carried in the vehicle. Allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice.
  • Studded tyres: allowed on roads covered with snow and/or ice.

Ukraine

  • Winter tyres: not compulsory.
  • Chains: allowed on snow covered roads.
  • Studded tyres: allowed. If studded tyres are fitted, it is prohibited to fit different tyres (studded and non-studded) on the same axle.

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