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Winter tyre laws

When do winter tyres become compulsory?

This is not an easy question, but our tipps and instructions will help you to be well prepared for the different winter tyre obligations in Europe

  • Following the winter tyre regulations is extremely important for your road safety during the winter season
  • We will help you find out what to consider, when you buy new winter tyres 
  • Our FAQ will guide you through all questions concerning the winter tyre obligations

Winter tyres: Laws and regulations in Europe

Which tyres are suitable?

Choose the right tyre for safe winter trips. Winter tyres can be identified by special markings on the sidewall of the tyre.

Experts do clearly recommend using winter tyres with the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol and a sufficient tread depth – please note different winter tyre regulations across Europe.

FAQs regarding the legal obligation to use winter tyres

Experts say: At a constant low temperature, we advise the use of winter tyres.

Several countries in Europe recommend or stipulate a set date for the seasonal tyre change. The period for winter tyres usually starts in November and ends in April. But of course, it is up to you, whether you start using winter tyres earlier. In case of constant low temperatures or a sudden onset of winter it is advisable to switch to winter tyres. The same applies in spring: if the weather conditions remain cold and wintery you can continue to use your winter tyres.


The answer to this question is a clear no. Safe driving on winter roads can only be guaranteed with a set of reliable winter tyres. There are several arguments against the use of summer tyres in wintertime.

  • Loss of traction and poor grip
  • Lower rolling resistance
  • Poor acceleration
  • Long brake distances
  • Rubber compound of summer tyres can brittle with low temperatures

Winter tyres perform the best at cold temperatures due to the rubber compound of the tyres. A higher percentage of natural caoutchouc guarantees a better grip and flexibility, while the profile ensures secure driving on ice and snow by virtue of the profound tread patterns and sipes.

Lower tread depth causes a decline of the braking performance on ice or snow-covered roads. Therefore, it is advisable to keep track of your tyre profile. Legal requirements vary strongly from one country to another. You must absolutely replace tyres when the tread depth falls below 1.6 mm – this is not only unsafe but also illegal. Some countries do request even higher standards though – e.g. Finland and Norway: 3 mm, Romania: 2 mm, Serbia or Austria: 4 mm.

We recommend consulting local laws and considering the regional weather conditions before taking a trip abroad in winter. For your own security please consider that tyre performances decrease with the tread depth.