Planning a winter highway journey to France with a automotive, motorhome, campervan or caravan? Involved in regards to the French winter tyre regulation and if you happen to comply? Right here’s all the pieces you’ll want to know.
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The France winter obligatory gear regulation (typically name the French tyre regulation)
Since 01 November 2021, it has been a authorized requirement in lots of areas in France to both:
- have correct winter tyres fitted to your car or
- to hold and put on snow chains or snow socks the place directed.
The dates for this are between 01 November and 31 March every year, no matter climate situations.
Nevertheless, it’s a Mountain Regulation (Loi Montagn) and solely applies in 48 departments situated in or close to the French mountains (Alps, Massif Central, Massif Jurassien, Pyrenees, Massif Vosges)- so if you happen to’re staying within the north of France in locations like Brittany or Bordeaux, you don’t want to fret about complying with the regulation, because it doesn’t have an effect on these areas.
You will discover a map beneath which reveals the areas.
What’s the level of the French winter tyre regulation?
The French wished to “scale back highway congestion in mountainous areas and enhance highway security” when driving on snowy or icy roads.
Every year, unequipped autos block roads and trigger accidents on their winter highway journeys and so they need to scale back these.
Earlier than 01 November 2021, you solely wanted winter tyres/ chains when roads marked « B26 obligatory particular gear » have been really lined with snow.
Now, you’ll want tyres fitted or to hold chains/ socks if you happen to’re winter motorhoming and planning to drive down an affected highway, no matter present climate situations.
The place are the affected areas?
The affected departments embrace:
Ain, Allier, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Ardèche, Ariège, Aude, Aveyron, Cantal, Corrèze, Côte-d’Or, Creuse, Doubs, Drôme, Gard, Haute-Garonne, Hérault, l’Isère, Jura, Loire, Haute-Loire, Lot, Lozère, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Moselle, la Nièvre, Puy-de-Dôme, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Orientales, Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Rhône, Haute-Saône, Saône-et-Loire, la Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Var, Vaucluse, Haute-Vienne, Vosges, l’Yonne, and Territoire de Belfort.
Nevertheless, it’s doesn’t essentially imply each highway in each division is covered- the native council and prefecture decide which roads and areas are affected.
This map is taken from the French Connexion web site and reveals all of the departments the place not less than one highway is included within the regulation.
How have you learnt which roads are affected in France?
Indicators will let you know whenever you’re about to enter a winter obligatory gear space. The dates which you will need to adjust to are 01 November and 31 March every year- you may ignore the indicators at different occasions.
One signal reveals you the place the obligatory space begins, and one the place it finishes:
What do you’ll want to adjust to the France winter regulation?
If driving or motorhoming in France one on of the obligatory roads in one of many affected areas between 01 November and 31 March every year, these are the foundations you will need to adjust to:
- all 4+ wheeled autos with out a trailer will need to have winter or 4-season tyres fitted and/or have non-slip snow chains or ‘socks’ mounted on the car (or at minimal current within the car)
- Heavy autos with out a trailer can select between winter tyres or chains.
- When you’ve got a trailer, you will need to have winter tyres fitted AND snow chains fitted on two driving wheels
Winter Tyres France- what’s wanted?
Winter tyres have particular markings on them.
Till November 1, 2024, tyres solely marked “M + S” might be tolerated.
On and after 01 November 2024, tyres will must be marked with “3PMSF” (3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake) and one of many “ M+” markings. S ” , “ MS ” or “ M&S ”
Winter tyres have to be mounted on not less than two steered wheels and not less than two driving wheels. If the car has a number of steered axles, these are the steered wheels of the principle steering system
4-season/ all season tyres are legitimate so long as they’re stamped “3PMSF” (or not less than “M + S” till November 2024)
Learn the official wording right here.
In case you don’t have winter tyres fitted, you will need to:
- carry snow chains or socks for not less than two driving wheels
If you’re a heavy car or have a trailer
Heavy autos with out trailers (I might recommend a motorhome over 3.5 tonnes counts as a heavy car) can select between chains or winter tyres.
Heavy items autos with trailers might be required to hold snow chains for not less than two driving wheels, even when they’re geared up with winter tyres.
Are snow socks allowed in France?
Snow socks are undeniably cheaper, simpler to suit and use, to not point out higher in your motorhome payload! And sure, they’re allowed below the French winter regulation.
Nevertheless, they aren’t as strong as chains and are designed for brief journeys, not a number of journey in snow, so if you happen to’re planning on doing an extended journey or a number of brief ones, get chains.
No matter you select, be sure to apply becoming them in advance- we by accident order the mistaken dimension chains and didn’t realise till we have been within the mountains. Fortunately, it was all high-quality however might have been an enormous mistake.
Does the regulation apply to bikes?
The regulation solely applies to 4 wheeled autos, so it appears bikes are exempt (however, truthfully, do you need to trip a motorbike in snowy situations with out correct tyres??!)
Is it regulation to have winter tyres in France?
In a phrase, no. In case you carry chains or snow socks, you’re lined by way of the regulation. However if you happen to’re planning to take a motorhome snowboarding or journey into mountainous areas throughout winter, I like to recommend you get winter or on the very least all-season tyres fitted and carry chains or socks as well as.
Higher secure than sorry!
What if I’m not geared up correctly?
If you’re wintering down in Spain or ‘popping via the Alps’ and drive via an space the place winter tyres or snow chains are obligatory with out complying with the above, it’s possible you’ll be stopped by the authorities and fined €135. You may additionally not have the ability to proceed your journey and the car immobilised.
B26 visitors signal
The B26 visitors signal (the one displaying snow chains) will proceed to imply that you will need to WEAR (not simply carry) chains on these roads when snow is on the bottom, even exterior the winter interval. These are clearly marked on the roads and there might be an space of chainage so that you can pull in and match chains if wanted.
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