Winter time is approaching and in some parts of the EU snow already covered mountains, roads and cities. Despite many rules/directives published by the EU on driving safely and on safety devices on cars, it is hard to find regulations on driving on European snowed roads.
Are snow chains equivalent to snow tyres? are snow tyres mandatory from 15th Oct, 1st Nov or 15th Nov? how long snow tyres must equip cars: until March, April or May?
There is not an official EU website describing this specific set of rules and if someone would like to find some reliable information, they have to read national Automobile Clubs or car rent companies websites.
Actually there are a couple of EU websites -
Your Europe, Road Safety
but it is complicated to find detailed information on this topic concerning a specific EU country otherwise they provide contact details of national Ministries of Transport which is not properly the most user-friendly way of providing ready-to-use information to the public.
As a matter of fact, the situation is not easy in general: when I searched for winter/snow tyres in England it was definitely not easy to find them (they are not mandatory) and as I had to drive to Northern Italy, which means going up to the Alps, made me worried quite a lot.
When you arrive to Italy, though, you will be confused by the extreme variety of rules every city/town has the freedom to impose on the duration of winter car equipment.
Around Turin, for instance, you could find that one should have winter tyres mounted (or snow chains on board, information
not included in the "Going Abroad" website by the way) from 15 Oct to 15 Apr for some kms and from 01 Nov to 31 March after driving a few kms farther on the same national road.
Of course, not following the specific rules would put you at risk of being fined. But how is it possible to know them before entering specific areas?
This situation does not help enhance road safety and something more concrete and consistent should be set up, coordinated and clearly disseminated by the EU.
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