Winter tires are now mandatory in Austria

Each year from November 1 through April 15


sarabyrd
Austria has passed a law demanding that cars, vans and trucks up to 3,500 kg must be provided with winter equipment under winter weather conditions. This means that either all tires must be winter tires, or that the tires on the driving axle must have snow chains.

Vom 1. November bis 15. April dürfen Lenker eines Pkw, eines Kombifahrzeugs oder eines Lkw mit einem höchsten zulässigen Gesamtgewicht von nicht mehr als 3500 kg bei winterlichen Fahrverhältnissen, das heißt bei Schnee, Matsch oder Eis ihr Fahrzeug nur dann in Betrieb nehmen, wenn an allen Rädern Winterreifen montiert sind, oder wenn Schneeketten an den Antriebsrädern angebracht sind.
Snow chains, however, are only permitted if the layer of snow on the roads is continuous or not noticeably interrupted, and if the road surface will not be damaged. Fines range from €35 to €5,000, your car can also be impounded. If you cause an accident in a vehicle on summer tires you have to prove that the accident was inevitable regardless of your equipment.
HellesAngel
Pretty sensible really - there's a recurring discussion in Germany about heavy trucks that often get stuck when it snows and block the A8 (usually). The trouble with Austria is keeping up with the new laws, every year there's something different and of course a fine...
Guy
But problematical for holidaymakers from countries where it is common to have all-year tyres and winter tyres are all but unknown.
HellesAngel
There's always the snow chain option for holiday makers but this doesn't work if the road is covered in snow/ice/slush on one bend but is otherwise clear. It's on this bend, or the ditch behind it, where you'll find all the dutch cars piled up. Probably with caravans still attached. The roads in Austria up and down the mountains can be really nasty in winter with a surprise around every bend and laws like this serve to highlight that fact. Everyone who drives there should make sure their car is safe or stay home. The law, as quoted by sarabyrd, doesn't say you have to have winter tyres, only that life will be interesting if you are involved in an accident and don't have them.

It seems in France it's pretty common to change two tyres on the driven axle to winter tyres and leave the others as summer/all season. I'd think this would help get the car moving but would make it rather exciting under hard braking. For some conditions I've seen in Austria only four really good winter tyres make any sense at all.
eurovol
All-weather tires are winter tires with a summer rating, not the other way around.
Hazza
I'd like them to do that here. Paying €15 a day for winter tyres from car rental places is outragous and they would be forced to offer them as a standard, because they can't rent out cars that aren't legal to drive...
sarabyrd
The law, as quoted by sarabyrd, doesn't say you have to have winter tyres, only that life will be interesting if you are involved in an accident and don't have them.
Ah, but you do "under winter conditions". The accident part has nothing to do with not being fined, only with your insurance coverage and the question of guilt.
Allershausen
I'd like them to do that here.
It already is law here and has been since the start of 2006. I refer you to an earlier thread.
Hazza
This is too wishy washy in the German law:

Bei Kraftfahrzeugen muss ab 01.05.2006 die Ausrüstung an die Witterungsverhältnisse angepasst sein.
leky
Well that is the same as Germany then & also here you can get a fine if you impede traffic because of unsuitable tyres. As for only changing 2 tyres, I know it's not allowed here, but it seems it would also put a lot of wear and tear on the summer tyres and thus having uneven tread on the 2 used in winter, seems an odd thing to do!
Bumpy
And don't forget your reflective jackets!
sarabyrd
The chains are allowed to be on two tires only, the ones connected to the driving axle. You must have four winter tires (and I bet a spare winter tire in the trunk).
Allershausen
You must have four winter tires (and I bet a spare winter tire in the trunk).
Before anybody gets worried, you don't have to have a winter tyre in the trunk/boot, as I'm sure sarabyrd knows, in fact you don't have to have a spare wheel at all. My car hasn't got one, most modern BMWs don't either and a lot of cars only have a space saver wheel and tyre in a space that a normal tyre won't fit. Quite what you're supposed to do with the punctured tyre is a bit of a problem.
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