Snow chain regulations

Snow chains are allowed (and sometimes even obliged) in most European countries when the circumstances justify their use. As soon as they are running on asphalt and are damaging the road, they have to be removed. You have to mount snow chains always on the wheels that are providing traction to your car.

Some places with lots of snow in winter sport countries have road signs who demand the use of snow chains. If you do not have your chains mounted when you are running into a police patrol, this can result in a heavy fine. In extreme snow conditions, snow chains can also be required on motorways. These obligations are also valid for 4x4 vehicles, buses and trucks. If you do not have your chains with you, you will have to make a detour or need to pull over and wait it out for better road conditions.

snow chains

Here you can find an overview of the snow chain regulations in different Europeans winter sports countries:

Germany:

• required in areas with special signs (see above, sometimes with caption Schneeketten verpflicht)
• The maximum speed with chains is 50 km / h

France:

• compulsory on some mountain passes
• required by special road signs (see above, sometimes with the caption "Chaînes à neige obligatoire")
• The maximum speed with chains is 50 km / h

Italy:

• You need to have snow chains with you in the Aosta valley between October 15 and April 15
• required in areas with special signs (see above, sometimes with the caption "transit con catene)
• compulsory on some mountain passes

Austria:

• required in areas with special signs (see above, sometimes with caption Schneeketten verpflicht)
• prohibited in tunnels

Switzerland

• compulsory on some mountain passes
• prohibited in tunnels

Norway and Sweden:

• If required by weather conditions, your vehicle has to be fitted with chains or snow tires
• In case of an accident, the one without winter equipment is responsible for the damage

mounting snow chains

Tips

On steep, snowy roads you can easily get stuck, even with snow tires. Snow chains then greatly enhance your grip. They are also required by law in certain situations. Therefore it is advised to take your chains always with you when going on ski holidays. Unfortunately, some drivers do not know how to install the chains. It is also often found that the chains have the wrong size. Therefore we give you these tips:

• It is possible that you can not use chains (eg, low profile tires) because there is lack of space and therefore they could harm key components such as brake lines, etc. Please consult the instruction manual of your car.
• Put the chains on top of the luggage so you do not need to empty your entire car when you need them.
• Be well informed before you decide to buy snow chains, because not every chain will fit your tires. Snow chains must be adapted to the dimensions of the tire. Old or borrowed chains are not always useable; the tolerances of the chain must correspond to your tire.
• Practice the installation procedure at home before you leave so you know how the system works. Putting the chains on is not as simple as it seems in the icy cold of a snowstorm.
• Install snow chains on the drive wheels. BMW and Mercedes are rear wheel driven, all other brands front wheel driven.
• Make sure the chains are still tight right after you drove a few meters.
• Snow chains can seriously damage your hubcaps. Therefore it is best to remove them before you leave on a skiing trip.

Winter tires

Winter tires (or snow tires) are also mandatory in some European countries. Read our article to find out where.