Winter Tires Legal in Germany

Belgium, the Netherlands and Great Britain – In general, winter tyres are not required unless instructed by signage or authorities. However, if the temperature drops below 7°C, standard tires can harden, reducing traction while driving. Winter tires allow for better control, performance and fuel efficiency. In some European countries, winter tyres are mandatory for cars. In others, they are not mandatory or only under special conditions. Therefore, it should be worth taking a closer look at the relevant regulations before the holidays. Most German drivers are familiar with the old rule of thumb for applying winter tyres to the vehicle: "from O to O". It is short for "October to Easter". It is recommended that motorists switch from normal tires to winter tires in October and leave them until Easter. Community members can change tires themselves at the Automotive Competence Center. In the event of an accident or obstruction of traffic in icy conditions without winter tires, the fine increases to € 120 with a point against the driving license. Since December 3, 2010, a federal law has been in force that specifically prescribes the use of winter tires in icy conditions. German law prescribed by the Bundestag, which prescribes winter tires in freezing conditions, does not provide exact dates, according to ADAC, the German automobile club that offers roadside assistance and air rescue.

However, many German motorists adhere to the general "O to O" rule, which means that winter tires are put on in October and should remain until Easter. Berlin, 10 October 2019. Update: September 20, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) – Germans say: "Use winter tires from `O` to `O`." The first "O" stands for October, the second for "Easter". It doesn`t really work in English unless we change one of these letters. Winter tires contain the symbol of a snowflake inside the mountain. The fine can range from 60 to 100 euros (60 to 100 US dollars or 52 to 88 pounds sterling), depending on whether the driver has endangered others by not using winter tyres. There is another problem: in the event of an accident with summer tires on snowy or frozen roads, it is unlikely that the insurance will pay or cover only part of the damage. In addition, some insurance companies may deny coverage to motorists who drive on winter roads with summer tires. ► Winter tires in Europe, Iceland and Norway (PDF download) GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Warm weather is giving way to cold, so you should prepare your vehicle for winter now.

One important thing to know before hitting the road in winter is that Germany has different tire requirements than the United States. Tyres marked M+S (mud and snow) produced before 1 January 2018 may be used as winter tyres until 30 September 2024. Tires manufactured from 2018 onwards must bear the snowflake symbol to be considered winter tires under the Highway Code. When buying new tires, make sure they have the snowflake symbol and also pay attention to the date of manufacture. The 30 European Consumer Centres answered the following questions about winter tyres in Europe, Iceland and Norway: It is also advisable to use winter tyres when the temperature is below 7 degrees. Winter tires have two types of markings: a snowflake, which indicates that it is a snow tire; or M+S, indicating that the tire is designed to operate in "mud and snow." All-season or all-season tyres can also bear the M+S mark and are also acceptable for winter driving. The law also applies to motorcycles, trucks and buses, whether the driver owns or leases the vehicle. All of these vehicles must be equipped with winter tires when driving in snow or ice. In some hilly areas, the use of snow chains is mandatory. So, if you`re planning trips in the winter, make sure you`ve checked the requirements. Italy – Winter or all-season tyres are mandatory on most Autostradas and mountain roads, as indicated on the signs. Date requirements vary, but usually winter tires are from 15.

From October to 15 April on mountain roads and from 15 October to 15 April or from 15 November to 15 April on Autostradas. You can change the tires yourself or let the car`s mechanics do it. It is important to tighten the wheels after changing the tires and driving about 50 kilometers. If you leave that to auto mechanics, it can cost around $20 to $30. It`s time to start worrying about winter tires. Germany has its regulations. In addition, there are recommendations that make sense. If you`re not sure if other countries have similar tyre laws, visit the European Road Safety website.

For more information on winter driving, see the Army Europe Drivers Handbook and Examination. If you don`t use winter tires on roads with frost, ice or snow, there are ways to skid. In the event of an accident, the person whose car does not have a winter tire will face some problems related to automobile liability insurance. The use of summer tyres in winter can also result in a fine and also points in Flensburg. Check the current rules on the official website. European winter tyres have two types of markings: a snowflake for winter tyres or M+S for tyres designed for use in mud and snow, or "mud and snow" in German. All-season or all-season tires can also bear the marks and are acceptable for winter driving, but tires designed specifically for snow work better than all-season tires. Anyone driving in winter conditions must ensure that their winter tire profile is at least 1.6 millimeters (0.04 inches) deep under German law. At the same time, the German General Automobile Association (ADAC) recommends 4 millimeters (0.16 inches). In this way, the tires have much more grip.

Winter tires offer better protection than all-season models, and it`s best if all four tires fit together. Decades ago, winter tires made ordinary cars sound like Soviet tanks, and they increased gasoline mileage at the same vehicle level. According to ADAC, those days are over. The differences between summer and winter tyres are difficult to measure in this regard. Leave an ice scraper and insulating gloves in your car to remove snow and ice. Driving without cleaning your entire vehicle limits your vision, can pose dangers to other motorists and is illegal in some countries. Only winter tyres without studs are allowed in Germany. Tires designed for snow work better than versatile tires.

All tires must have a tread depth of at least 1.6 millimeters, but for maximum safety, tires less than 4 millimeters must be replaced. By the way: There are "all-season tires" that can be used all year round. They are generally quite good for the big cities in northern Germany. Berlin is not Oslo and Hamburg is not Winnipeg. The situation is different in southern Bavaria, where "all-season tyres" may not be enough. Diesel fuel is sensitive to cold and can actually "freeze" or enter a solidified state, which can cause your engine to malfunction. Block heaters help warm up the engine when not in use. If you don`t have a block heater installed in your car, talk to a trusted mechanic about the cost of installing one in your vehicle. Or you can buy a portable heater to keep diesel fuel at a safe temperature. Many European countries have set standards for petrol stations to switch to "winter diesel" mixed with additives to slow down the solidification process, but in extremely cold conditions, the fuel can still become thicker.

If you have any questions about winter driving requirements, please contact your local vehicle registration or inspection office. And give yourself more time to get to work and appointments in the winter – burning rubber is a bad idea. If you have all-season tyres or winter tyres marked M+S and produced before 2018, they are still registered until 30 September 2024. NOTE: A new traffic rule, effective October 2024, requires snow or all-season tires with the three-summit mountain seal. M+S is no longer valid. Vehicle owners who still own or will buy tyres with the symbol M+S until the end of 2017 can drive them until the end of September 2024. Tire manufacturers will have to produce tires with the Three Summit Mountain seal from January 2018. You can no longer supply tyres with the symbol M+S to tyre shops. If the police catch motorists driving without winter tyres in winter conditions, the driver must pay a fine of €60 and receive a point on his driving licence. Officials of the German Automobile Club recommend using tires bearing the "Three Summit Mountains" seal.

Tyres bearing this mark meet the highest standards. Compliance with existing winter tyre rules is essential. First, there is a so-called "situational obligation" to use winter tyres (yes, it`s obviously "tyres" in British English).