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Green motion car hire blog winter tyres w640 1

What happens to your car when winter strikes

Whilst driving abroad it's important to adhere to the driving laws in that country. Failure to do so could result in a fine or temporary loss of your vehicle.

Wherever you drive, you are responsible for equipping and controlling your vehicle correctly. You may be liable to a fine if you impede the normal flow of traffic or cause an accident as a consequence of not adapting your vehicle (tyres/snow chains) to suit weather and road conditions.

In Italy from November 15 to April 15 in many Italian provinces it is mandatory to travel equipped with either winter tyres or snow chains on board specific to the type of vehicle rented. We recommend you check in advance whether your travel itinerary or any stretches of road you may drive through fall under this obligation.

Winter tyres are made from a different rubber compound so they don’t harden when it is cold, providing increased grip on the road and greater safety.

Motorists will benefit from using winter tyres whenever the temperature dips below seven degrees centigrade. They are suitable not just for snow-bound roads but are effective on slush, ice, frost and even wet roads, providing improved road handling and reduced stopping distances.

Snow chains

Snow chains are compulsory in some parts of Europe (depending on local conditions) although different countries have different snow chain laws, so it is important to check these before travelling abroad.

The use of snow chains is taken very seriously in relevant countries, with heavy fines potentially issued for failing to carry them. In addition, if your vehicle is involved in an incident where snow chains should have been used, it is automatically considered to be your fault.

To be on the safe side, you should always carry snow chains when visiting the countries outlined above and use them wherever and whenever necessary.

Only use snow chains when the road surface is covered in snow or ice. If you try to use chains on a road that has been cleared of snow and gritted, you risk damaging the road surface and your vehicle.

We cannot be held liable for any loss howsoever arising as a result of any errors or omissions in the information below.

CountrySnow TyresSnow Chains
BelgiumThere is no legal requirement for the use of snow tyres.You are permitted to use snow chains where there is ice or snow, but this is not a mandatory requirement.
CyprusThere is no legal requirement for the use of snow tyres.

FinlandWhilst travelling in Finland between 1 December and 31 March it is a legal requirement
to use snow tyres.
You are permitted to use snow chains but this is not a mandatory requirement.

GreeceThere is no legal requirement for the use of snow tyres.

IcelandBetween 1 November and 14 April and it is a legal requirement to use snow tyres.

IrelandThere is no legal requirement for the use of snow tyres.You are permitted to use snow chains but this is not a mandatory requirement.

ItalyIn Italy from November 15 to April 15 in many Italian provinces it is mandatory to travel equipped with either winter tyres or snow chains on board specific to the type of vehicle rented. We recommend you check in advance whether your travel itinerary or any stretches of road you may drive through fall under this obligation.You should carry snow chains when travelling in Italy. Road signs across Italy indicate when snow chains are compulsory.

LatviaIf your vehicle weighs less than 3.5 tons, then between 1 December and 1 March it is a legal requirement to use snow tyres.You are permitted to use snow chains but this is not a legal requirement.

LithuaniaWhilst travelling in Lithuania between 10 November and 1 April it is a legal requirement to use snow tyres.You are permitted to use snow chains but this is not a legal requirement.

Netherlands
There is no legal requirement for the use of snow tyres.You are permitted to use snow chains where there is ice or snow, but this is not a mandatory requirement.

SerbiaWhilst travelling in Serbia it is compulsory to use snow tyres.You should carry snow chains when travelling in Serbia.

United KingdomThere is no legislation requiring the use of snow tyres.You are permitted to use snow chains but this is not a mandatory requirement


Please be safe this winter, and do everything you can to avoid a winter automobile accident. Contact your Green Motion branch for more information on how to stay safe this winter throughout your travels.

We strongly recommend you check The European Commission which has additional information on international traffic rules concerning winter tyres.