Winter tires become compulsory in mountain areas from 1 November

From 1 November, vehicles traveling in areas where snow is frequent must be equipped with winter tyres, tires ” four Seasons ” or have chains or snow socks in their trunk. The bond runs throughout the winter period, until next March 31.

► Which areas are concerned?

In total, 4,173 municipalities, in all or part of 34 departments, are subject to this obligation across the Pyrenees, the Massif Central, the Alps, the Jura Massif and the Vosges Massif.

Appropriate equipment is in particular compulsory on all roads in Cantal, Haute-Loire, Lozère, Savoie, Haute-Savoie and Hautes-Alpes.

Some prefects considered on the contrary that this obligation was not justified in their department, as in Corrèze, in Nièvre or in Corsica.

► Should we equip ourselves on the main roads?

It is better to be equipped on the national and motorways which cross the Alps and the Massif Central, with obligations in force in many departments and municipalities.

Some axes remain accessible without equipment, such as the A35 and A36 motorways in the Haut-Rhin, or the national 59 and 159, which cross the Vosges between Lunéville and Sélestat.

Signs showing a mountain, a suitcase of chains and a tire indicate the entrances and exits to areas where winter equipment is mandatory.

► Tires or socks?

Light vehicles, utility vehicles and motorhomes must either be equipped with four winter tires or “all seasons” that is “Hold in their trunk removable anti-skid devices (metal or textile snow chains) allowing them to equip at least two driving wheels”, reminds Road Safety.

Coaches, buses and trucks without a trailer are subject to the same obligations.

Heavy goods vehicles with a trailer or semi-trailer must have snow chains enabling at least two drive wheels to be fitted, even if they are fitted with winter tyres.

► What sanction for offenders?

The lack of equipment should be sanctioned but the amount of the fine has not yet been fixed, according to Road Safety. During the first winter of application, in 2021-2022, the public authorities did not take action, mainly carrying out “pedagogy”.

Until then, specific equipment was compulsory only on roads where a sign representing a white chain on a blue background was installed, when they were covered in snow. The objective of the new regulations is to enhance user safety by reducing the specific risks associated with driving on snowy or icy roads, specifies Road Safety.

It is also a question of avoiding blockage situations in mountainous regions when unequipped vehicles find themselves unable to free themselves, immobilizing an entire traffic axis.

The equipment obligation is also valid for foreign motorists.

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