Winter tyre legislation

The laws and regulations concerning winter tyres and snow chains in Europe change regularly. Additionally, each country has its own rules. In recent years, there have been some significant changes regarding the legislation on winter tyres and snow chains in Europe. We’ve outlined them below.

Germany and Austria – amended legislation in 2024

From October 2024, motorists in Germany and Austria are no longer allowed to drive with winter tyres that only bear the M+S symbol. Until September 30, 2024, tyres from 2017 or older equipped with an M+S symbol are still considered winter tyres. After that date, they will no longer meet German and Austrian legislation as winter tyres.

A winter or all-season tyre produced after January 1, 2018, must have a snowflake symbol on the side to be classified as a winter tyre according to the new legislation. Only an M+S coding will no longer suffice.

Anyone driving with tyres that only bear the M+S marking after October 1, 2024, risks a fine. In the event of an accident, you may encounter issues with your insurance.

France – amended legislation in 2021

The legislation regarding the use of winter tyres and snow chains in France changed on November 1, 2021. The new legislation, in brief: in 48 departments located in mountainous areas, the use of winter tyres or snow chains is mandatory from November 1 to March 31. The legislation applies to both light and heavy vehicles.

Germany - amended legislation in 2020

The German winter tyre legislation for commercial vehicles > 3,500 kg was changed in 2020. Commercial vehicles and buses must have winter tyres on the driven axles and on the steering axle (or axles) during wintry conditions. The requirement for winter tyres on the steering axles came into effect on July 1, 2020.

Norway – amended legislation in 2020

In Norway, winter tyres are mandatory for all axles of heavy vehicles, including trailers and semitrailers. Since the winter of 2020-2021, winter tyres on the driven axles and the front steering axles of motor vehicles > 3,500 kg must be equipped with the snowflake symbol. For the other tyres, the M+S coding is sufficient.

Source: VACO