Care Guide

Drive on the right side of the law with Cold Weather tyres

Michelin 22 Oct 2012

Drive on the right side of the law with Cold Weather tyres

Heading for the slopes this year? You’re all set with the right ski gear and warm clothes. But have you thought ahead about your tyres? Fitting Cold Weather tyres improves your safety when driving in the chilly season. But often it’s not optional, in many countries across Europe it’s the law to fit Cold Weather tyres as soon as the temperature drops.

Check before you travel

As Winter weather differs between countries, so does tyre legislation. Take note if you’re going skiing this Winter. While some countries with milder climates have no specific Cold weather tyre legislation in places such as Austria and Slovenia Cold Weather tyres are compulsory. In other places like France and Switzerland, there is no Cold Weather tyre ruling but it is compulsory to drive with special Winter equipment (Cold Weather tyres or chains) on certain sections of road depending on driving conditions.

Each country has different dates when Cold Weather tyres must be fitted. For example, in Norway this period runs from 16 October to 30 April, while in Estonia it’s 1 December to 1 March.

That’s why it’s important to know not only the laws of the country you’ll be driving in, but also the weather and road conditions on the day. Keep up to date with weather reports and travel bulletins so you can be prepared.

Tread depth

For tyres across the EU, the legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm. However a few countries such as Austria and Latvia require minimum Cold weather tyre tread depths of 4mm. If you already have Cold Weather tyres, check that the tread depth still meets minimum legal requirements.

Studded tyres

Tyres with metal studs offer excellent traction on hard-packed frozen mud or ice, which can be a lifesaver. Yet studded tyres are not ideal for driving on wet or dry roads that are not covered with ice, as they can increase braking distance, road noise and carriageway wear. That’s why in some countries like Germany and the Czech Republic, it is illegal to use them. Always make sure you are aware of the legislation in the country in which you are driving.

Laws that save lives

Cold weather tyre legislation is in place to help reduce accidents and ultimately save lives. In France, where Cold Weather tyres are not compulsory, there are plans to strengthen Cold weather tyre rules in order to reduce the number of road accidents.

Cold Weather tyres make driving on wet, snowy or icy roads easier and safer. They simplify the task by providing better traction, better braking and shorter stopping distances. Of course you still need to stay alert to the road and other drivers, and in bad weather, drive with extra care. If you need Cold Weather tyres, consider models that offer superior mileage and braking, such as those in the MICHELIN Alpin range.

Brought to you by MICHELIN

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