Do I need winter tyres when driving in Continental Europe?

Different countries have different rules when it comes to winter tyres. Here's what you need to know...

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What Car? team
12 November 2018

In the UK, there’s no law forcing drivers to fit winter tyres. However, there are legal requirements in some European countries, and it’s important to know these if you are heading to a ski resort this winter.

In Germany, for example, winter or all-season tyres are compulsory in wintry conditions. Snow chains should also be carried and used when signs state they are needed.

Fiat 500 in snow

In Austria, all vehicles must have winter or all-season tyres on snow-covered roads from 1 November to 15 April, or outside of these dates if there is snow, ice or slush on the ground. As in Germany, snow chains should be carried too.

Winter tyres are recommended but not compulsory in Italy from 15 October to 15 April, although individual provinces may have their own laws.

In France, winter tyres aren’t required by law, but snow chains should be carried.