our cars are usually fitted with all season tyres which are good in every type of weather except snow.
In case of icy conditions or snow on the road you may need to get winter tyres, otherwise known as snow tyres, from our car hire offices. They can be ordered as optional extras along with your rental. The main advantage of these tyres is that they are designed to grip well at lower temperatures and possess a special tread which is deeper and gives more traction. In fact they are made to excel in cold temperatures making them the right choice for drivers in the winter. Whether or not you have ABS or Traction Control, winter tyres are still the only things which actually prevent your tyres from skidding. Anything colder than seven degrees Celsius and you will rapidly start to lose traction.
Different countries have different rules on what winter tyres are needed and when to fit them, for instance some countries only require two winter tyres to be attached. Even then, you are recommended to fit all four winter tyres for performance and safety. Rhino also has snow chains, which are not used for driving but for emergencies in case you need to be towed. In some countries it is required by law that you have these but they are not included in our rental price.
You may also drive with spikes or studs in some countries. Then it is up to you to comply with the relevant speed limits. Here is a country by country guide to winter tire, spike, stud and snow chain legislation in Europe.
In November 2010 Germany changed their laws with regards to winter tyres and regulations state that all motorbikes and cars (including from a foreign country) must be fitted with winter tyres under icy conditions. Although there is no set time period to which this applies, it is generally suggested that they should be fitted between October and Easter. Failure to do so can result in a fine and a point on your licence. If you are involved in an accident or you disrupt traffic or cause a blockage due to not having snow tyres fitted, the fine is doubled. Needless to say it makes sense for both your own safety, that of others and also the welfare of your wallet, to have snow tyres fitted when appropriate.
Usage of winter tyres is not mandatory but sometimes signs indicate that snow chains are necessary, especially in mountainous areas. Drivers of cars that weigh up to 3.5 tonnes are allowed to use spikes from November until the end of March as long as they have a badge which shows they are using spikes. Vehicles with spikes can go at a maximum of 50 km/h in residential areas and 90 km/h on out of town roads.
It is not compulsory to use winter tyres or snow chains unless requested to do so by the relevant authorities. If you are using spikes you have to comply with the speed limits of 90km/h on motorways and 50 km/h on open roads. Even though Italy and France don’t enforce the use of winter tyres, if you are travelling through the Alps it is recommended you should use them.
According to the law winter tyres must be fitted to all wheels on cars with a maximum weight of 3.5 tonnes between November 1 and April 15 (any accidents between this period by cars not fitted with winter tyres will have their insurance deemed null and void). These tyres are for winter conditions such as snow, slush or ice. Alternatively you can fit all season tyres which must have M&S (mud and snow) marked on them. If there are signs on rods showing that winter tyres must be used, it is illegal to travel along such roads without having the tyres. Not obeying the law would result in a large fine and a spell in the pound. If you can’t get winter tyres it is legal to fit snow chains on the two front wheels but only in extreme conditions when the road is covered in snow or ice.
Similar regulations to those used in France and you are not obliged to use winter tyres, though for insurance purposes they are usually a safe bet. Also if you find yourself in a situation where you are impeding or disrupting traffic due to lack of snow tyres in a snowy situation, you could be liable for a fine. It is also optional as to whether you want to use spikes or snow chains unless road signs say otherwise. However, spikes are not to be used for motorway driving. You can only have studded tyres from November 1 to March 31 when you can drive at 50 km/h in towns and at 80 km/h on motorways. Accidents caused by using summer tyres during the winter will result in liability on the part of the driver, whether or not they have fully comprehensive insurance.
Motorists must always have the appropriate tyres for the appropriate weather conditions. Drivers must therefore fit winter tyres during the coldest months, but winter tyres are not required for cars registered outside of the country. When in use winter tyres should be fitted on all the wheels and the minimum tread depth is 3mm.
Winter tyres are only compulsory for Swedish nationals, however during the harsh winter conditions it would be the safe and sensible option for a foreign driver to fit snow tyres.
Winter tyres are required by law from the beginning of December to the end of February. This law also applies to cars which have been registered abroad.
Same regulations as Finland. Winter tyres are required in Latvia between December 1 and March 1. You must wear winter tyres in Lithuania from November 10 to April 1.
Winter tyres are not compulsory but are recommended in wintry conditions. If you were to have an accident and your car had normal tyres, whereas any other vehicles involved had snow tyres - it is the general presumption amongst officials that your vehicle was at fault.
It is a requirement to use winter tyres between November 15 and March 15, and you must use two winter tyres per car (although we recommend four winter tyres for optimum safety). If you only have radial tyres and not winter tyres, they must have a tread depth of four millimetres. You could incur a fine of 125 Euros for not having the correct tyres fitted and if you were to cause a delay on the road due to not having the proper equipment, that fine raises to 417 Euros (correct as of November 2011).
In Hungary cars must have winter tyres and snow chains on board in case of icy conditions. This is also the case in Croatia and Lapland.
In countries such as the United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, Poland, The Czech Republic and Spain there is no requirement to have winter tyres. In Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg however there can be snow near the German border and winter tyres are recommended. Studs are forbidden in those low countries. Winter tyres are recommended in Denmark. Poland and The Czech Republic because of wintry conditions and a high chance of snow and ice at that time of year. Studs are permitted in Denmark but not often used.
For More Information on Snow Chains click here - Snow Chains Explained
Snow Chains are available from all of our winter destinations and can be reserved at the booking stage.
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