Hold on to Winter Tyres a Little While Longer

There are some signs that spring has sprung but, in most places, full-on summer spec is a way off yet.

Also, a look ahead to Tour Auto. Another delay for Weymouth’s Dover Strait-rivalling high speed ferry service. It actually turns out Norway has the safest roads in Europe…



Spring snow means it is probably too early to switch to summer tyres.

Finland moves to summer speed limits. Plus checking up when it's time to dump the winter tyres. More later.

Finland moves to summer speed limits but summer tyres have been fine for a few weeks now. Photo Liikennevirasto.fi.

Summer speed limits start in Finland this week.

The process involves physically switching the road signs so some areas may lag behind says Finland Times.

It is the only country where speed limits change between the seasons, from 80kmh on national roads back up to 100kmh, for instance.

Finland is also the only country where ‘winter tyres’ are compulsory whatever the weather conditions, from 1 December until the end of February (studded tyres can be used no later than the Monday after Easter Monday).

Meanwhile, drivers in Germany only need winter tyres – those marked ‘M&S’ – in wintry conditions.

Common practice is to switch from summer tyres between October and Easter (Oktober bis Ostern), though the rule actually applies throughout the year.

As last night’s snow dump in central Germany proved, changing too early could have dire consequences (not least a €40 fine).

Luxembourg is similar – though winter tyres don’t have to be used before 1 October, and mid-March is the advised end date – as is Sweden where summer tyres are OK from 31 March.

In Austria and Italy, the end date for winter tyres is 15 April (or, in Italy’s case, and/or the obligation to carry a set of snow chains on certain roads).

This is no general winter tyre requirement in France, Spain or Switzerland, but drivers should at least carry snow chains in the mountains, and winter tyres are often an alternative.

Northern Spain, the Pyrenees and the French Alps have all seen snow this week. 

Finally, it has been legal to drive on regular tyres in Slovenia since 15 March.

See more on Winter Tyre Rules around Europe.


tour auto2

Peter Auto is out in force at this weekend’s Jarama Classic in Spain as it looks ahead to Tour Auto later this month. This year’s 25th anniversary route heads south east from Paris to the Cote d’Azur and features the first ever night stage. Detailed route maps have been published this week at @TourAuto.


roundup: CROSSING THE CHANNEL. The proposed HighSpeedFerries.com service between Weymouth and Cherbourg will now no launch until next year reports the BBC. Using Condor Ferries’ former berth, the crossing is said to take less than two hours, rivalling France-bound journeys across the Dover Strait from the West Country. The service has been delayed several times now having originally been slated to start last autumn. HighSpeedFerries also tried unsuccessfully to launch a similar service at the turn of the decade. NORWAY. It is not an EU member hence why Norway’s 2015 accident statistics were not included in yesterday’s annual announcement. We’ve already heard road deaths were cut by 15 percent last year to the lowest number since 1950. What we didn’t realise was that this equates to a Malta-and-particularly-Sweden beating 24 deaths per million inhabitants (thanks to a gentle reminder from national roads agency Statens Vegvesen). Wow.


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