Compulsory winter tires

Winter is a rather slippery affair for many motorists. There is one issue that cannot be avoided every year: winter tires. When should they be fitted, which tires may be used?? Is there a winter tire obligation in germany? We have summarized some information for you on the subject of winter tires.

Only with good winter tires and sufficient tread depth can you drive safely through snow and icy roads.

For whom does the winter tire requirement apply?

In principle, winter tires are compulsory for all vehicles on public roads, also for vehicles with foreign license plates.

When to change winter tires?

When it comes to the question of when winter tires must be fitted, the popular rule is O to O, i.e., from october to easter.

The legislator does not specify an exact period, because this does not depend on the season, but on the weather conditions.

You must have winter tires?

One thing is certain: anyone driving with summer tires on slippery roads, ice or snow must expect a fine and a point in the central traffic register. If there is an obstruction, a hazard or even an accident, it becomes even more expensive.

By the way: insurance coverage often does not apply or only partially applies here. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Recently, not only the driver but also the owner of the car who allowed the car to be driven without winter tires will be held responsible.

Driving without winter tires?

Anyone driving with summer tires on slippery roads, ice or snow must expect a fine of at least 60 euros and a point in the central traffic register.

Which winter tires may I drive?

The requirements for winter tires have changed again in 2017.Whereas in the past a so-called M+S marking was sufficient to certify that a winter tire had better driving and traction properties on snow than a normal tire, the alpine symbol – a mountain pictogram with a snowflake – is now required.

The alpine symbol was introduced as a new label by the united nations economic commission for europe (UNECE). This is intended to ensure uniform conditions with regard to rolling noise emissions and adhesion on wet surfaces.

But there is a transitional period until 30. September 2024. Until then, M+S tires are considered to be suitable for winter use if they are fitted by 31.12.2017 were manufactured. Winter tires purchased this year can therefore be fitted without hesitation.


    From 30. September 2024 do winter tires have to alpine symbol show

A winter tire configurator helps to find the right winter tire for your vehicle.

Who is excluded from the winter tire obligation?

Excluded are single-track motor vehicles as well as agricultural and forestry vehicles, trailers, forklifts, emergency and special vehicles for which no suitable winter tires are available. Even parked cars that are not moved during the winter months are not subject to the winter tire obligation.

But there are restrictions: before I start a journey with a vehicle that is exempt from the winter tire obligation, I have to check whether my destination could not also be reached with another means of transport. If this can be denied, further precautionary measures apply in road traffic:

    Minimum distance
    a minimum distance from the car in front must always be maintained. How many meters distance I must keep, results from the half of my speedometer value. If I drive 30 km/h, I have to keep a distance of at least 15 meters to the vehicle in front.

Winter tires and car rental

If you rent a vehicle in winter weather conditions, you should always find out about its tires. As a general rule, a car may not be rented out if it is not in a safe and roadworthy condition. This also includes the right tires. Car rental companies are free to charge additional costs for the use of winter tires.

Accident in winter and no winter tires: who is liable??

If you drive with summer tires in winter conditions and have a traffic accident, you will have to accept a reduction in benefits from your comprehensive insurance or your car insurance company. Calculate liability insurance.

These are issued on the basis of gross negligence. The joint liability affects the owner and driver equally. The owner, because he allowed the use of his car with summer tires, and the driver, because he objectively violated the winter tire obligation. This is also the case if another driver caused the accident.

It is therefore better to put on winter tires before the first snow falls and thus minimize the risk of an accident. This contributes to the safety of all road users.

Store winter tires correctly

As quickly as winter comes, it is often just as quickly over again. Before you store your tires, increase the air pressure by 0.5 bar more than the manufacturer’s specifications. Even though the tires are not used, the air pressure decreases during the storage period. Rimless tires should be stored upright and rotated a few times over the course of the months.

How long you can drive with winter tires?

Basically you should use winter tires not longer than 10 years use, only eight would be better. If you need new tires, it’s best to take care of them early, otherwise you may be faced with long waiting times – depending on the model – as there may be bottlenecks in production and delivery during the peak period.

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