Winter tires in Germany in 2024: these are the rules
Alpine symbol on the cheek
In Germany, you are required to use winter tires under winter conditions. Until now, four-season tires and M+S (Mud and Snow) tires were also considered acceptable. From October 2024, however, stricter rules will take effect for the latter two categories. There should then also be the alpine symbol (a mountain with a snowflake) on the sidewall of the tire, as on winter tires.
If you do drive with M+S tires without this logo in winter conditions in Germany after October 2024, you risk a €60 fine. In addition, you have a chance of receiving a penalty point on your driver’s license that will be recorded in the German driver’s license registry. At 18 penalty points, you risk being banned from driving in Germany. If you obstruct other road users because you do not use the correct tires, you can be fined 80 euros and receive a penalty point. In case of acute danger, the fine amount rises to 100 euros, and if you cause an accident, you get a fine of 120 euros. But that’s not the only risk you face. German insurance companies can be difficult if you are involved in a collision and do not have the right tires on your car.
What are winter conditions?
Winter conditions, according to the law, are at least those caused by black ice, slipperiness due to snow, snow mud and slipperiness due to ice or frost formation. Germany has no set period when the use of winter tires is mandatory. Winter conditions can also occur outside the winter months.
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One more point to keep in mind: Germany prescribes a minimum tread depth of 4 millimeters for tires with winter characteristics. A requirement, by the way, that other countries also impose, where winter tires are prescribed. By the way, if you are going to winter sports, winter tires are always the best choice. These offer more grip in snow than four-season or M+S tires, even if they have an alpine symbol. With winter tires, you simply get off the road much better on a slope and your braking distance is significantly shorter. So even if you are going to a country where the rules are less strict: make sure you have good winter tires.
Also read: Winter tires: everything you need to know