Overseas winter equipment
Overseas winter equipment
There's something incredibly special about the peaceful silence of a snow-covered campsite when you're warm and snug inside your caravan, motorhome or campervan and with the right preparation touring can be enjoyed all year round!
Before you go off touring in the winter we would recommend that you:
Get your car serviced before setting off to make sure everything is in good condition
Add antifreeze to the windscreen fluid
Take a snow shovel
Allow more time for your journey
Check your route carefully
Check your tyre tread depth and pressure
In some countries it is a legal requirement to use winter equipment such as snow chains or winter tyres. If using snow chains it’s a good idea to practice fitting these before you need them as they can often be tricky to fit and remove. There are many online video instructions to help with this.
Winter equipment requirements by country
|Austria||Between 1 November and 15 April winter tyres are mandatory when driving in winter conditions (snow, slush or ice). Winter tyres must have a minimum tread of 4mm. Snow chains can be used on summer tyres as an alternative to winter tyres but only if the roads are completely covered with snow and the snow chains will not cause damage to the road surface.|
|Croatia||If there is black ice or more than 5cm of snow, snow chains must be used and motorists must also carry a snow shovel. (It is recommended to carry snow chains and a shovel from November to April).|
Winter tyres are compulsory from 1 November to 31 March when there is compacted snow or ice on the roads or when the temperature is lower than 4ºc and there is a possibility of snow or ice. Also whenever a blue sign showing a white car with a white snowflake underneath is displayed, regardless of weather conditions.
Vehicles up to 3.5t must have winter tyres on all wheels (minimum depth tread 4mm) and vehicles over 3.5t must have winter tyres on the driving wheels (minimum depth tread 6mm).
Between 1 November and 31 March winter tyres or snow chains/shoes are compulsory in certain mountainous regions, Alps, Massif Central, Jura mountains, Pyrénées and Vosges.
Road signs will show the start and end of each zone and more specific details of the areas can be found here.
Wherever the international snow chain sign is present it is compulsory to wear snow chains on snow covered roads at all times.
In snowy or icy conditions vehicles must be equipped with winter tyres which must display the M+S mark or snowflake.
Snow chains are allowed and these vehicles are restricted to a speed of 50 km/h. In mountainous areas the requirement for snow chains is indicated by the international sign.
|Italy||In the area of Val d’Aosta, vehicles must be equipped with winter tyres or snow chains must be carried in vehicles from 15 October until 15 April. Outside of the Val d’Aosta area, either winter tyres or snow chains must be used when the international sign is used.|
|Luxembourg||In wintry conditions (frost, compacted snow, slush, ice) all vehicles must be fitted with winter tyres (marked M+S).|
|Slovenia||From the 15 November to 15 March (or during winter conditions such as snow or black ice outside of these dates) vehicles must be equipped with winter tyres (minimum depth tread 3mm) or carry snow chains.|
|Spain||There are no general winter requirements but if the roads are covered in snow and ice, particularly mountain passes, the use of snow chains or winter tyres may become compulsory.|
|Switzerland||There are no general winter requirements but snow chains are a legal requirement when the international road sign is used.|
International Road Signs
This picture is of the international road sign which is used to advise motorists that snow chains or winter tyres need to be used.
These signs are normally on the roadside and covered up in good weather.
When weather conditions deteriorate and there is snow or ice on the roads, the signs are uncovered.