Obligation to mount snow tires - Germany

Do I need them?

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We just moved here and somewhere I read that they were required but then in the Drivers Handbook (the one you study to get your license) it says only in certain parts of the country. So in Stuttgart, do you need them and where do we get them?
Uncle Jamal
Winter tyres are obligatory in Bavaria and, as far as I know, BW too. You can get them from any "reifen handler".

EDIT - NOT TRUE! See next post for accurate info.
You have to have tyres appropriate to the weather conditions - so, if it´s icey or snowy in Stuttgart, then you have to have winter tyres.
Whilst you can get by with other ones most of the time, should you be involved in an accident, most insurance companies will not pay out if you have the wrong tyres, not to mention how much trouble you would have with the police if you were to cause a major accident.

My answer to your question:

Winter tyres are obligatory in Bavaria and, as far as I know, BW too. You can get them from any "reifen handler".
Obligatory as in law?

reading other posts on this topic here they agree with with robinson100, i.e. the law is tyres must be suitable for the conditions, not that you must have them.
If you want to drive to Austria though to go to the slopes then winter tyres are law.

Please can you state your source of this info?

P.S. I don't have winter tyres but then again I don't go driving in the snow so it's no biggy plus my insurance is with a UK company and I expect the claims operators there have not even heard of winter tyres
Uncle Jamal
You are right - I thought it was obligatory but in fact it isn't.

Straßenverkehrs-Ordnung (StVO)
I. Allgemeine Verkehrsregeln

§2 Straßenbenutzung durch Fahrzeuge (link to law)

(3a) Bei Kraftfahrzeugen ist die Ausrüstung an die Wetterverhältnisse anzupassen. Hierzu gehören insbesondere eine geeignete Bereifung und Frostschutzmittel in der Scheibenwaschanlage. Wer ein kennzeichnungspflichtiges Fahrzeug mit gefährlichen Gütern führt, muss bei einer Sichtweite unter 50 m, bei Schneeglätte oder Glatteis jede Gefährdung anderer ausschließen und wenn nötig den nächsten geeigneten Platz zum Parken aufsuchen.

Rough translation: the car must be outfitted to meet conditions, with appropriate tires and anti-freeze specifically mentioned.

More info: Das Sagt Das Gesetz, FOCUS, 21.12.2009
In summary, it's not a legal requirement to have them. You MUST, however have tyres suitable for the conditions you are driving in. If you are driving in snow or ice, then this implies (means) winter tyres, or more accurately tyres with an "M+S" symbol embossed on them (which can include all-weather tyres) and at least 6mm of tread. Should you have an accident in snow without such tyres then you can be considered negligent and may have insurance issues. If you don't have winter tyres but do drive on dry, non-icy roads, even in winter then no problem. For German registered vehicles at least you may only fit rims/tyres with dimensions or ratings as specified in the vehicle paperwork.

You can buy winter tyres at any tyre outlet or garage, but usually only in the winter months. Normally you buy a complete set of 4, including rims, and then change them at the beginning/end of each winter season yourself, or ask the local garage/tyre store to do this for you. Many tyre outlets or garages will store the tyres for you for a small fee when not being used. Local advertisements often offer used winter tyres for sale, which can save a lot of money, but be sure to check they are precisely suitable for your vehicle, have enough tread profile and are not too old.
One of my German colleagues claims that when the tempeture is below 8C you must drive using snow-tires, otherwise the insurance will not cover you.

Just out of curiosity, has anyone not having snow-tires in their car been involved in an accident when it was not icy or snowy, but just cold. Did the insurance company refuse to pay?
One of my German colleagues claims that when the tempeture is below 8C you must drive using snow-tires, otherwise the insurance will not cover you.
Only if driving in snow. Read the legal text....
Only if driving in snow. Read the legal text....
Legality and hassle getting money from an insurance company are different things.
At the end of the day you'd probably have to prove that tyres weren't a contributory factor in the accident in order to secure some or all of the payout. Sweeping statements such as winter tyres below 8 degrees or no pay out are likely far from the truth.
If you have access to post, you can also get them at the AAFES Car Care Center.
you live in Stuttgart, temperatures below 0deg C, and light snow.


its not complicated, and will save lives (also yours).
The FOCUS article I linked to in my previous post answered the question about insurance.

Einige Reifenexperten halten allerdings dagegen, dass auch bei niedrigen Temperaturen ein Sommerreifen auf trockener Fahrbahn genügend Grip habe und der Winterreifen seine Vorteile wirklich nur bei Schnee und Eis ausspielen könne.
Aber wie steht es mit dem Versicherungsschutz, wenn es knallt und man trotzdem mit Sommerreifen unterwegs war? „Den Schaden des Unfallopfers bezahlt die Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung natürlich immer, auch dann, wenn nicht jahreszeitgemäße Reifen aufgezogen waren“, teilt der GDV [Der Gesamtverband der deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft] dazu mit.

Das gilt jedoch nicht unbedingt für den Schaden am eigenen Auto: „Bei der Vollkaskoversicherung könnte im Extremfall, beispielsweise dann, wenn man mit abgefahrenen Sommerreifen ins Hochgebirge fährt, bei einem Unfall grobe Fahrlässigkeit entgegengehalten werden. Denn nur dann, wenn der Vollkaskoschaden grob fahrlässig herbeigeführt wurde, muss die Versicherung nicht zahlen“, so der GDV weiter. Vielleicht noch wichtiger als die geeignete Bereifung dürfte allerdings im Schadensfall der Nachweis sein, dass man seine Geschwindigkeit und Fahrweise den Sicht- und Wetterverhältnissen angepasst hat.
rough translation:
Tire experts maintain that in low temperatures a summer tire on dry roads has enough grip, and winter tires only show an advantage on snow and ice.


But how do you stand with insurance, when there's winter weather and you're underway with Summer tires? The damage of the accident victims will naturally be paid, even if the car didn't have season-appropriate tires, says the GDV (the German umbrella insurance organisation).

But that doesn't always apply to damage to one's own car. In extreme cases, for example when someone with worn down summer tires is in mountainous regions, then the driver can be considered extremely negligent. But only in situations of extreme negligence can the insurance refuse to pay. Perhaps more important than having appropriate tires in an accident is the evidence that the driver drove at an appropriate speed and manner for the visibility and weather conditions.

In case anyone is wondering, I have two sets of rims and complete sets of summer and winter tires for my all-wheel drive Subaru. Better safe than sorry!
Just put on the tires for f's sake. It's for everyones safety. Imagine what you'll be posting after you kill someone and you didn't put on safety tires. Manslaughter.
Err........who's that aimed at?
Nobody was suggesting they wouldn't have tyres fit for the conditions ....just asking whether it was law to have them on at all times.
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