Winter tires within Europe
In most EU countries winter tires for cars are not mandatory, but there are exceptions.
Update: Nov 2017
In the following study, 30 European Consumer Centres answered the following questions:
- Are winter tires mandatory or not?
- If not, are there special areas (or caution signs on the road) where you need winter tires (e.g. in the Austrian mountains)?
- Are studded tires allowed?
Fines in the event of improper car tires during winter
Occasionally, winter in Germany comes earlier than expected. Car drivers are often surprised by sudden snowfall while still using their summer tires. Does this entail a fine?
Yes. Even though there is no general obligation for winter tires in Germany, it is advisable to use them in the winter season- not only for your own safety: According to current legislation, drivers will be charged a fine of at least 60 EUR and will receive a point in Flensburg (negative point system for driving offences, points are subtracted according to the offence) when found to be driving in snow or ice with summer tires. If the car causes a traffic obstruction owing to the use of incorrect tires, the driver is also liable to a fine of 80 EUR. In the situation where an accident is caused by incorrect tires, this information is recorded in the accident report and has consequences for the insurance that you will be entitled to.