Compulsory winter tires: when are winter tires compulsory??

compulsory winter tires in germany

In europe the regulations for winter tires are very different. What is valid in austria, is not at the same time also in belgium or france law. Sometimes winter tires are mandatory, sometimes they are only recommended. In germany winter tires are compulsory. In the event of black ice, slush and black ice, i.e. "wintry weather conditions", you must change from summer to winter tires. If you are caught with summer tires in these weather conditions, you will be fined 60 euros and receive a penalty point in flensburg.

By the way, since January 2018, only tires with the Alpine symbol (also known as the snowflake symbol) fulfill the winter tire requirement. Surely you have seen the small three-pointed mountain with the snowflake in the middle before. Tires with this symbol have been officially tested for their winter properties and are particularly efficient in snowy or icy conditions.

Your old set of winter tires, however, is only marked with the M+S symbol? Don’t worry, until the 30th. September 2024 there is still a transitional regulation. You do not have to buy new winter tires with the snowflake symbol until this period has expired.

Expert Tip:

The M+S symbol on the tire indicates that it is suitable for driving in slush and snow.

From what temperature do winter tires make sense??

We recommend winter tires from a constant low temperature below seven degrees celsius. Whether you change your tires as early as october or as late as december, as stipulated by the "O to O" rule, depends on the weather conditions. Likewise, until when you drive with winter tires. if temperatures remain below seven degrees celsius for a long time in the spring, simply change your tires a little later. The opposite is true for mild temperatures in autumn or winter.

There is no obligation for summer tires. In principle, you could drive with winter tires all year round without changing your tires. But does it make sense to forego changing tires?

Driving winter tires in summer – makes sense?

Driving winter tires in summer is permitted, but not advisable. Even without the ban, we strongly recommend that you change your tires twice a year. Why?

Winter and summer tires are differentiated by their construction: summer tires are harder and have a special tread pattern that reduces the risk of aquaplaning. Winter tires, on the other hand, have a softer rubber compound that is optimally adapted to the cold season. This is particularly noticeable in braking performance. In snow, black ice and slush, the pronounced tire tread ensures good grip – unlike in summer. The different construction of the tires is also noticeable in other areas. In terms of fuel consumption and driving comfort, winter tires offer the best performance only at the appropriate time of year.

What makes winter tires perform in cold conditions?

Winter tires are specifically designed to deliver full performance in cold temperatures. Their rubber compound has a higher natural rubber content. So you remain flexible even at below seven degrees Celsius and have better grip on the road. In addition, the grooves and sipes on the tread are deeper than those on summer tires. This ensures particularly good driving in snowy conditions. How these properties are affected at higher temperatures? Little efficient. Winter tires have a higher rolling resistance in warm weather and a significantly longer braking distance. For comparison: at temperatures from 15 degrees celsius, your car will come to a standstill up to seven meters later than with summer tires. Therefore, use winter tires only in appropriate weather conditions.
our conclusion: adapt your tires to the weather conditions. This saves energy and fuel and ensures greater driving safety. In addition, keep an eye on the winter tire requirement in cold temperatures. When to change to winter tires depends on country and region.

Which vehicles are exempt from the winter tire requirement??

Some vehicles are exempt from the winter tire requirement in snowy and icy conditions. These include:

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