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Winter tyres: a requirement throughout Europe?

Posted 17/01/17

Are you venturing out on the road in the freezing conditions sweeping across Europe now? Then it's time to read a Winter Tyres report just published by the European Consumer Centre Network on mandatory equipment for travel this winter in Europe, plus Iceland and Norway. 

You may think it will be obvious whether you are obliged winter tyres or not. But it's not as straightforward as simply saying 'is it snowy or not?' In some countries winter tyres are legally required between certain dates, in others they are mandatory "if weather conditions so require", in a few they are only mandatory if there is a specific road sign and in others they are not mandatory at all. 

Before you risk breaking the law or worse, being involved in an accident (which may have insurance questions if you are not following the law), it is better to know in which countries winter tyres are mandatory. 

The European Consumer Centre Network has published a study, led by ECC France and ECC Germany, on mandatory equipment for travel during winter in the 28 countries of the European Union, plus Iceland and Norway. 

Andy Allen, UK ECC Director, said: " With icy weather sweeping across much of Europe, it's important to make sure that UK drivers who aren't used to these kind of conditions are aware of the requirements in whatever country they are visiting: both to stay safe and to keep within the law. 

"The kind of information contained in the Winter Tyres report is essential for UK drivers who are venturing onto European roads during the winter. 

"Not surprisingly, countries imposing winter tyres tend to be more northern countries of the EU (such as Finland, Sweden etc), while countries without regulations prove to be southern countries (such as Greece and Portugal etc), but there are some exceptions. The overriding thing to remember is to stay safe. 

"It's also important not to judge a book by its cover when thinking about whether winter tyres are needed or not; Croatia, for example, has rules about the use of winter tyres, but Denmark and Iceland do not have any regulations on the matter. It really is best to check out the correct position by looking at the results of the survey."

Winter tyres, studded, chained: how to find out?

To avoid confusion and ensure you comply with the legislation of the country where you are travelling, the European Consumer Centre network has done a study to paint a clearer picture of the different rules that exist across the EU. It shows four categories of countries:
• The seven countries where winter tyres are mandatory for a certain period;
• The seven countries where winter tyres are compulsory only if weather conditions are severe enough;
• The three countries where winter tyres are not mandatory unless a sign imposes;
• The 13 countries where there are no regulations for winter tyres.

To learn all about winter tyres in each of the European countries, see the UK ECC website.

UK consumers can use the advice and support of the UK European Consumer Centre if they have a dispute with a trader based in an EU country outside the UK - 01268 886690 between 9am and 5pm or www.ukecc.net/

The UK ECC's aim is to help as many UK consumers as possible who encounter problems with a trader based in Europe, to achieve a resolution: a replacement, repair, refund or cancellation of their contract.


Notes to Editors

For further information please contact UK European Consumer Centre’s press office on 01268 582206.

The UK European Consumer Centre is part of the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net). There are 30 centres in the EU, plus Iceland and Norway. The aim of the network is to provide advice and support to consumers who have a dispute with a trader based in a European country outside the UK. The Network will assist consumers in the attempt to resolve the complaint.

UK ECC can provide advice in the following main areas: buying goods and services, online shopping, internet auctions, holidays, timeshare and holiday clubs, air travel.

UK ECC is co-funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and the European Commission.

The UK ECC service is delivered by the Trading Standards Institute www.tradingstandards.uk       

  • The UK ECC provides advice and support to consumers who have a dispute with a trader based in a European country outside the UK and will assist consumers in the attempt to resolve the complaint.
  • Consumers can make contact with the UK European Consumer Centre via the website – www.ukecc.net – or by phone on 01268 886690 weekdays between 9am and 5pm.
  • If in doubt before you buy, contact our sister organisation – the European Consumer Centre for Services – for  pre-purchasing advice: www.ukecc-services.net

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