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European Winter Driving Regulations and Legislation - Winter Driver's Guide

Winter driving in Europe can be spectacular, but driving regulations are something to be taken very seriously

Winter driving in Europe can be spectacular - but driving regulations are something to be taken very seriously

Winter driving in Europe can be spectacular - but driving regulations are something to be taken very seriously

Arnold Clark Winter Drivers Guide

Winter Driving Europe

Planning on taking your car to the continent this winter? Make sure your car is ready for long journeys, you've read our driving tips, and you're familiar with the rules for winter tyres across Europe.

Winter Tyres tread depth requirementSnow TyresSnow Chains
Andorra3mmNo legal requirementShould be carried at all times and used as dictated by road conditions. Road signs indicate when they are compulsory.
Austria4mmMust be used between 1 November - 15 April, and if conditions dictate.Should be carried at all times and used as dictated by road conditions. Road signs indicate when they are compulsory.
Belgium3mmNo legal requirementPermitted, but no legal requirement
Bulgaria3mmNo legal requirementShould be carried 1 November - 31 March. Should be used as dictated by road conditions. Road signs indicate when they are compulsory.
Czech Republic4mmMust be carried between 1 November - 1 April, and used as dictated by road conditions. Road signs indicate when they are compulsory.Should be carried at all times and used as dictated by road conditions. Road signs indicate when they are compulsory.
Denmark3mmNo legal requirementPermitted, but no legal requirement
Estonia3mm (5mm in poor conditions) Must be used between 1 November - 1 March, and if conditions dictate (dates can be extended).Permitted, but no legal requirement
Finland3mm (5mm in poor conditions)Must be used between 1 December - 31 March,and if conditions dictate.Permitted, but no legal requirement
France3.5mmNo legal requirementShould be carried at all times and used as dictated by road conditions. Road signs indicate when they are compulsory.
Germany3mmMust be used.Should be carried at all times and used as dictated by road conditions. Road signs indicate when they are compulsory.
Iceland3mmMust be used between 1 November - 14 April and if conditions dictate.Permitted, but no legal requirement
Ireland3mmNo legal requirementPermitted, but no legal requirement
Italy3mmMust be used between 15 October and 15 April, and if conditions dictate.Should be carried at all times and used as dictated by road conditions. Road signs indicate when they are compulsory.
Latvia3mm (5mm in poor conditions)Must be used between 1 December - 1 March, and if conditions dictate, if your vehicle weighs less than 3.5 tons.Permitted, but no legal requirement
Norway3mmStrongly recommended, but no legal requirement and it is the norm.Should be carried at all times and used as dictated by road conditions. Road signs indicate when they are compulsory.
Poland3mmNo legal requirementPermitted, but no legal requirement
Portugal3mmNo legal requirementShould be carried at all times and used as dictated by road conditions. Road signs indicate when they are compulsory.
Romania3mmMust be used between 1 November - 31 March,and if conditions dictate.Should be carried at all times and used as dictated by road conditions.
Russia3mmNo legal requirementPermitted, but no legal requirement
Serbia3mmMust be used.Should be carried at all times and used as dictated by road conditions. Road signs indicate when they are compulsory.
Slovenia3mmMust be used between 1 December - 31 March,and if conditions dictate. 
Spain3mmNo legal requirementShould be carried at all times and used as dictated by road conditions. Road signs indicate when they are compulsory.
Sweden3mmMust be used between 1 November - 31 March,and if conditions dictate. Tyres should be marked M&S or Mud and Snow.Should be carried at all times and used as dictated by road conditions. Road signs indicate when they are compulsory.
Switzerland3mmNo legal requirement, but vehicles not equipped to travel through snow which impede traffic are liable to a fine.Should be carried at all times and used as dictated by road conditions. Road signs indicate when they are compulsory.
UK3mmNo legal requirementPermitted, but no legal requirement

The information is provided purely as a guide and may not be 100% accurate. Information may be liable to change. Local regulations and legislation applies in many of the European countries above with regard to snow tyres and snow chains. You are strongly advised to check with local authorities before planning to travel.

Snow chains may only be used where there's sufficient snow covering to avoid any possibility of damage to the road surface. A fine may be imposed if damage is caused. There are also limitations as to when spiked and studded tyres can be used, which vary by country.

For more information on winter driving, read our Winter Driver's Guide.

About the Author

Sam England

Staff writer at Arnold Clark

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