There are some countries in Europe where drivers are not required by the law to change their cars’ tyres into winter ones. Poland is a great example of that. Meanwhile, there are places where it is laid out in the highway code. And there are fines for not adhering by these rules!
Poland – and winter tyres
In Poland there are no legal regulations regarding seasonal tyre changes.
This means – it is not forbidden to have summer tyres on in the middle of winter. Or having winter tyres on in mid-August.
There are no fines, too.
This makes Poland a bit different from the neighboring countries.
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Europe and winter tyre regulations
As a matter of fact, this varies from one country to another. Let’s yese a look at the regulations in countries located close to Poland:
- The Czech Republic
Czech Republic – passenger cars, trucks, buses
The Czech highway code requires car owners to have either winter or all-season (M+S) tyres on between 1.11 and 31.03.
It may seem changing tyres is not mandatory, as the highway code requires using winter tyres only in winterly conditions OR when there is a risk of these showing. In fact – winterly conditions are expected all winter round.
Are drivers fined for not having seasonal tyres on?
There is a risk of a fine – from 2000 CZK (circa 82 euro). The worst case scenario includes even a ban of further car use – until seasonal tyres are put on.
How about Slovakia?
The Slovak law requires drivers to have winter tyres on only when the roads are covered in ice OR snow. There are stricter requirements when it comes to trucks/buses – they need to have seasonal tyres on between 15.11 and 31.03.
No winter tyres on – Slovakia
Fine from 60 euro.
Lithuania – winter tyres
The regulations for winter tyres in this country are pretty strict. All vehicles in Lithuania need to have seasonal tyres between 10.11-01.04.
The minimum thread depth is 3 mm.
Winter tyres in motorcycles – Lithuania
Between 01.12 – 01.03 even motorcycles need to have winter tyres on.
Winter tyres are required between 01.12 and 01.03. What’s even more important, this regulation requires all vehicles to have seasonal tyres on – be it passenger, truck or buses.
No regulations on winter tyres 🙂
Are winter tyres required in Germany?
This is one of the countries where, legally, there is an obligation but….it is not. 🙂
In case weather conditions become much worse and there is snow or ice on the road, cars need to have winter/all-season tyres on. Without them, the driver would get a ticket.
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Rest of Europe – what are the regulations?
There are some countries where seasonal tyre change is mandatory, according to the law:
Winter tyres in Finland
Winter tyres/all-season ones are mandatory between 01.11-31.03.
The homeland of Nokian brand is one of the countries where road conditions can be challenging. That’s why, it comes as no surprise that cars can have studded tyres on – 01.11 to 31.03.
Minimum tread depth is 3 mm.
Winter tyres in Sweden
Regulations are similar to Finnish ones – period for having winter/all-season tyres is 01.11-31.03. Minimum tread depth is 3 mm.
You can also use studded tyres – 01.10-15.04.
Estonia and winter tyre regulations
Similarly to other Baltic countries, the Estonian highway code includes regulations on using winter/all-season tyres. They need to be on 01.12-01.03
Studded tyres can be used between 15.10 and 31.03.
Latvia and winter tyres
In Latvia, all cars/buses need to have winter tyres on between 01.12 and 01.03. The minimum tread depth is 4 mm.
Let’s start a quick journey to the South of Europe. Szybko przenosimy się na połudno Europy. Even though Bulgaria may not seem like the first choice when it comes to winter tyres, this issue is laid out in law between 15.11 and 01.03 cars need to have winter tyres on. If they don’t, the driver might get a fine of around 25 EUR.
The period of using winter tyre is among the longest in Europe – 15.11-15.04. However! You can have summer tires all year round, as long as you have 4 tyre chains in the trunk.
No winter tyre regulations – other countries
Here comes a list 🙂
- Great Britain
The following countries require winter/all-season tyres in bad weather conditions or in certain regions:
Winter tyres. Where are they mandatory in Europe?
As you can see, there are no universal regulations when it comes to winter tyre use in Europe. We realize we didn’t include all countries from Europe.
While writing this article we were inspired by information from the following sources
Pisząc ten artykuł posiłków liśmy się informacjami zawartymi na następujących stronach:
- Information for travelers published on .gov.pl websites
|Country||Winter tyre mandatory?||Period|
|Slovakia||only in winterly conditions (passenger cars); yes (trucks)||15.11-31.03|
|Ukraine||no||not applicable 🙂|
|Germany||only if road conditions are bad||not applicable 🙂|
|Portugal||no||not applicable 🙂|
|Ireland||no||not applicable 🙂|
|Great Britain||no||not applicable 🙂|
|Belgium||no||not applicable 🙂|
|The Netherlands (Holland)||no||not applicable 🙂|
|Denmark||no||not applicable 🙂|
|Hungary||no||not applicable 🙂|
|Greece||no||not applicable 🙂|
|Cyprus||no||not applicable 🙂|
|Spain||depending on road conditions||not applicable 🙂|
|France||depending on road conditions||not applicable 🙂|
|Italy||depending on road conditions||not applicable 🙂|