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France to make winter tyres compulsory from November 2019?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
under a new name wrote:
@spyderjon, interesting. Kind of makes them appropriate year round in much of the UK then.....


Kind of inappropriate this summer - where I live, anyway. I wonder if such summers will become more common.
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@achilles, my expectation would be that the various factors mean that winters’ performance as it gets warmer doesn’t degrade with increasing temps as quickly as summers’ with decreasing so the critical limit probably means you’re more or less OK even with the warm summer the UK seems to have enjoyed.

I managed to melt my Reefs in the height of the canicular heat in Geneva though...
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I don't think this is feasible but tyres should have an official "scorecard" with 1-5 ratings for the following
Dry grip
Wet grip (not just stopping distance, cornering etc)
Wet grip when 50% worn
Grip on ice & snow
Noise
Wear rate
Plus 1 or 2 others perhaps? And a red flag if the tyre performs particularly badly in any category.
My personal experience in the UK is that all season tyres are the best option, grip on snow & ice wasn't quite as good as a full winter but vastly better than "normal" tyres (I'm reluctant to call them summer tyres) wear rate wasn't quite as good as a normal tyre but vastly better than a winter tyre (on my van, the normal tyres lasted 3x longer than winters)
The normal tyres fitted to my van have a stupid tread pattern where half the pattern is only a few mm deep so you lose the full tread pattern when the tyre is only 50% worn and grip on wet roads is terrible at all times of year.
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@spyderjon, Don’t you find the mpg significantly worse on winter tyres in warmer weather?

A quick back-of-the-fag-packet calculation reveals £400 difference at my average annual mileage based on the mpg difference I think I had last winter, my 1st time buying winter tyres. However the mpg difference might have been affected by the higher speeds on French motorways. This is a genuine question as I am mulling over when to change back to winter tyres this autumn.
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Gordyjh wrote:
@spyderjon, Don’t you find the mpg significantly worse on winter tyres in warmer weather?

A quick back-of-the-fag-packet calculation reveals £400 difference at my average annual mileage based on the mpg difference I think I had last winter, my 1st time buying winter tyres. However the mpg difference might have been affected by the higher speeds on French motorways. This is a genuine question as I am mulling over when to change back to winter tyres this autumn.


I found any change in mpg was too small to be noticeable

On my regular trips to Andorra from Whitby, the car would give far better mpg on this side of the channel, even though we could maintain a fairly high speed on UK motorways and even though keeping a safe distance I think there is some slipstreaming effect on the busy roads.
On the French side, we would drive overnight on deserted roads with the cc set at 84mph and fuel consumption would drop from 45mpg on the uk side to 36 mpg in France
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@tangowaggon, unconvinced about any slip streaming at a safe distance from a car in front.

But if your Uk mways are anything like the M8 twidt Edinburgh and Glasgow... we probs averaged around 55mph on Thursday (I do not drive in the UK very often) ... which vs 84mph could, I think, very easily result in the mpg difference.

Geneva to Cham at my habitual 145 kph I get two returns, at polution limited 110kph I get three...
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Thanks @tangowaggon. That’s in line with what I found. It only came to mind when driving in France this summer and finding the mpg plummeting! Although the added factor of extra drag from the attached bicycles complicated matters!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Re winter wheels as well: If you take a look in your Owners Manual or ask your Garage, you'll often find that the spec' for winter is a narrower wheel width and tyre width. So for our main car, the summer 18" wheels go down to 17" and the summer 245mm (wide) tyres go down to 225mm in the winter. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, narrower tyres are less prone to aquaplaning and give better snow traction. Second, for many performance cars, the summer tyres are too wide to take conventional chains, or at least fit them with a reasonable gap between the chains and the suspension/brake pipes.

Winter tyres also have much greater water-dispersal capacity compared to summers - evidenced by the bigger grooves and larger area of 'groovy-ness' compared to the summers (below left summer / right:winter):



This, allied to the above makes winters attractive for a typical wet UK winter, even if you never see a flake of snow - because they're much less prone to aquaplaning. There have been times driving through heavy summer thunderstorms when I'd much rather have had my winters on than the summers.

So if you do go for a separate set of winter wheels + tyres, just check the spec' that your manufacturer recommends as it may not be the same as for the summers. This doesn't always apply - on old our 1.4L Peugeot 206 we just used to change the tyres. And as someone mentioned, eventually we just kept the winters on in summer as it is only a local runabout: on the basis that winters in summer are better than summers in winter, for a non-performance car. It now has Michelin Cross-climate All-seasons fitted, which is a logical evolution of this approach.

However, for our M235i, its 330BHP + RWD benefits from the manufacturer's spec of smaller/narrower winter tyres.

Also note on the photo' that the winter tyre (right) has lots of small, 'crinkle-cut' grooves in the tread blocks, called sipes. These make the tread squirm much more and heat up much more than the solid summer tyre. Great in winter of course, but not desirable in summer, and this is one element that for a performance car makes it infeasible to use your winters in summer as well, as the tyres gets too hot and this significantly increases the wear rate and degrades the handling.
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Quote:

(I'm reluctant to call them summer tyres)

That's because there are no such things.
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under a new name wrote:
@tangowaggon, that is a very good point.

I recall driving all round Scotland in sometimes very snowy conditions (we skied quite often) (and with my uni cars being rwd; Triumph Spitfires and a Rover V8 SDI ... ) and never really giving it much thought other than driving appropriately to conditions.


Very true (although I guess I had an advantage in a FWD Citroen BX)
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@LaForet, wondering how you rate the crossclimates on the Peugeot and if you use them in the alps?

I was going to put winters on my merc e-class (4matic) but I am now thinking of getting CrossClimates. Reason for the change of mind is a). The cost of doing two change overs every year (£160 in London!!), b) the little amout driving I do (c.8000m pa) inc only 2 trips to the alps yearly in winter (Xmas, Feb 1/2 term) c) and the good reviews CrossClimates seem to be getting. I accept they are not as good as winters, but not a big disadvantage in summer. I have also purchased a set of Thule TU9 easy fit chains as backup. I generally drive to the conditions - ie not sporty!

My winter ski trips involves driving to Chatel from London taking the main route over the Juras to Lausanne and from there the Pas de Morgins into France. The last part of the joirney is 800m 10pct public road to our apartment which has underground parking. Once there we would seldom use the car.

Based on the above I think CrossClimate are more practical for my situation. Thoughts?


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Mon 1-10-18 9:32; edited 1 time in total
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Not sure on the general opinion on them, but ive been more than happy with my Michelin Cross Climate tyres on my volvo when driving about on UK/European roads in snowy conditions
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A friend has used michelin crossclimate fitted to front wheel drive Audi A4 across Europe for a couple of years without any issues. From Spain to Sweden Latvia etc in summer and winter. He's someone that I'd trust his assessment of something like this so I think it comes from fairly extensive experience of hugely various road circumstances to make it valid.

As pointed out above, to make a comparison with a dedicated pure winter/snow tire is not that being made here. But more about suitability for purpose and safe driving across the widest range of conditions met throughout a whole year of seasons. They seem to stand up well in that given circumstance.

Another step toward all year usability, I've been using "Falken AS200 Euroall" predominantly in UK and fitted in summer. They are fully winter marked and do perform with no reservations that I've found in snow. But are of a compromise in tread design plus compound that probably sits between them crossclimate and full winter type tire.
If you search for and switch to images to see what they look like it'll give you more idea of their design position. Fitted now for 8,000mls I'd have no reservation in recommending them as they do appear to offer a true all year tire.
The obvious limitation often dished out is "summer" performance, in this respect they have easily outperformed the previously fitted "eco " tires which curiously held no advantage in fuel consumption but offered dire traction on dry tarmac sprinkled with rain. The Falken are better all round.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Ozboy, I'm a fan of CrossClimates - they performed happily in snow & ice in the UK and have worn well; they have taken me to the Alps and back several times.

Someone will no doubt be along here to point out that CrossClimates aren't *winter* tyres, because they aren't. But I'd say that they are good enough. And you have chains.
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For the last ten years we have run various FWD cars with winter tyres (always top brand/ top rated) and driven about with zero issues.

We got two 4WD cars last year (Skoda Yeti and Golf R) and I decided to get crossclimates as I had hoped they would be good enough and save faffing about changing.

They have been OK - but definitely not as stable/grippy as a full winter tyre .

I still did some sliding about trying to get to and from Manchester airport during the beast from the east so I was less than impressed.

I will be going back to summer/winter in future.

Live in Sheffield so hills are everywhere...
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@Ozboy, E class is a heavier vehicle so for stopping you are certainly better off with winter tyres. If however you go for the second best (worse?) solution then Nokian Weatherproof would be my choice rather than crossclimate
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Have Vredstein Wintracs as our winter tyres on our Nissan X-trail, and All-season Vredstein Quatracs on our VW Transporter. The Wintracs are great, but the Quatracs have yet to be tested. We get the X-trail ones changed over for £50.
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@ozboy I think the cross-climates work well for us given the Peugeot lives on the South Coast, is just a 1.4L and is only used locally, but I rejected them for anything going to the Alps. I'd say you give up 20% of the effectiveness of a summer in summer and winter in winter, if you see what I mean. On a small 1.4L runabout this isn't an issue.

But for the lightweight 2 Series convertible with 330BHP and RWD it's too much of a difference to be acceptable/safe. Where you sit on the 'doesn't matter' to 'matters a lot' spectrum is what's hard to judge re all-seasons vs winters+summers.

We also only do 8500 miles/year in the BMW but what actually makes the decision a lot easier to my mind is going to the Alps i.e. it's so much more comforting to have 'proper' winter tyres on in the Alps that it makes it a no-brainer for me. The icing on the cake is that in the UK, I get the benefit of reduced aquaplaning as well.

Like you, we drive to our apartment in the 4 Vallées over the Jura, via Besancon, Pontarlier, Vallorbe and down to Lausanne. Here's driving home about 3 years ago:



This is only around the 600m mark where the snow started. The pass is at 1000m. We were in a convoy. Only the cars with winter tyres made it, as far as I could see. The car on summers turned back after about 100m. The car with chains turned back after about 500m because he couldn't handle the initial mixed snow-tarmac-snow-tarmac: it was impossible to drive on these tarmac-y sections with chains. The X5 ahead of us (who had winters) slid slowly and gracefully off the road into the ditch and had to be pulled out by - a little Fiesta. Trouble with the SUVs is they have so much momentum that once they start to drift, even with winters on, they can't stop/correct. All the other eight or so cars of varying types, most not 4x4 or AWD, managed fine.
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@LaForet, Thanks... I cant imagine the journey you described would have been too pleasant given what you witnessed. I am definitely in the 'it matters' camp, hence posting here, but I am happy to accept a measured level of risk, as I have chains as backup and also happy to not be in a hurry if on 'all seasons' tyres, ie not drive like am on normal clear road.

@snow_badger, @ski3, @sheffskibod, As you are in the 'all seasons' camp - have you had issues with braking and cornering going down mountain switchbacks in the snow ice and found them dangerous? What about uphill have there been instances where you've had to resort to chains in order to make it up?
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As I posted, the michelin point I gave is anecdotal as I'm not driving that car. But he uses them in Sweden in the winter and has no additional traction devices to assist. Also through the Pyrenees again without issue. I'll defer to the others about alps specific impressions for the crossclimate tires.

I can see the point made by @LaForet, for his car as the interest in a non winter tire has its attractions for such a vehicle which I can see would divide the choices as he's made them, I don't see an issue with that. But with the question you place based on usage then it does move it more toward a single solution if you can gain enough confidence in them.

The other choice I put up, The Falken AS200, rests somewhere between a pure winter an the crossclimate tires. It's worth having a look at a picture of them to gain more of an impression. These I've personally driven and believe they give just as much assurance as any winter tire I've tried on snow covered roads, they really are impressive. I've not had to use chains at all on them. The do seem to work fine through the rest of the year too but accept that they would not reach the performance of a straight dry type tire if you really wanted to rag it. Of course it's about a compromise if you want to remain with one set of tires, I just think that these offer a genuinely good balance.

Another tire very close to the Falken is the Bridgestone weather control A001 which offers a very similar technical approach if you had a preference for a different manufacturer, or sizing availability is not offered.

For the other's posting, I feel it's worth you looking at the tread pattern of both the Falken and the Bridgestone via search /images to see the type of options there are outside pure winters.
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Vredstein Quatrac 5 on my Mercedes GLC no problems getting to/from Samoens and fab in the deep snow this year. I had winter wheels and tires for years when we lived up a track in Malvern but now run the all season option. I think it's a fair compromise. I have never had to use the chains so I guess they do a good job.
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@LaForet, I’ve driven that road a few times, and once in significantly worse snow than that. It’s fine until the descent Shocked

Absolutely agree on heavy cars having a momentum issue, not necessarily SUVs. But... The X5 surely wasn’t on proper winters? Or was driving entirely inappropriately. I can’t think of anywhere on that road where appropriate driving would cause a loss of traction, at least, not in my car (SUV).
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Thanks all for your valued input. After spending a a fair bit of time on he web reading reviews and looking at videos I have decided to go with the Michelin CrossClimate+. In reality I spend most of my time driving >7 degrees in flat London at c. 20mph or to the alps in summer. I will only do one or two trips to the alps in winter. I also think getting a replacement Michelin tyre in France is easier should I puncture and need a new matching tyre. Car has no spare - just a can of goo!
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@under a new name To be fair to the X5 driver, the conditions weren't bad but if they'd not driven the road before, as we had in the summer, they may have got caught out by the way the camber drops off at the edge in places. The snow made it look like the road was wider then it really was, so I suspect they just drifted onto the edge a bit, and found that instead of a couple of cm of snow on tarmac they were being dragged onto 10cm of snow on loose soil. They were only a bit off the edge but given the X5's weight it just dropped 15cm onto loose snow. Just a little too much to recover from. It only needed the Fiesta to help pull the front back a little onto tarmac and he was all OK again.
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Driving in France used to be fun.

You could drive recklessly and nobody cared.
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@LaForet, ahhh, yep, see what you mean.

Easier to fix than my mate’s Rangie Sport on summers which I believe was fully ditched thrice en route to his house at 1,200m ... (Why do I need winter tyres, I have 4x4 ...)
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I'm not sure to what extent (living in the burbs just inside the M25) winter tyres earn their keep in this country. Certainly did on our trip out to the Alps this year - if nothing else to reassure the OH that relevant precautions were in place (along with expensive idiot proof chains). But did I really do enough driving in iffy conditions otherwise? Not really...
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Spin Doctor wrote:
I'm not sure to what extent (living in the burbs just inside the M25) winter tyres earn their keep in this country. Certainly did on our trip out to the Alps this year - if nothing else to reassure the OH that relevant precautions were in place (along with expensive idiot proof chains). But did I really do enough driving in iffy conditions otherwise? Not really...
We had a very cold winter, so how do you know that the winter tyres you fitted to the car didn't stop you from rear-ending the car in front on one of our cold or wet days this winter?
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You know it makes sense.
rob@rar wrote:
Spin Doctor wrote:
I'm not sure to what extent (living in the burbs just inside the M25) winter tyres earn their keep in this country. Certainly did on our trip out to the Alps this year - if nothing else to reassure the OH that relevant precautions were in place (along with expensive idiot proof chains). But did I really do enough driving in iffy conditions otherwise? Not really...
We had a very cold winter, so how do you know that the winter tyres you fitted to the car didn't stop you from rear-ending the car in front on one of our cold or wet days this winter?


You are right. I can't be 100% sure - they were on in time for the worst of it. And the OH didn't own up to any near misses so I am just going on gut instinct. Before we started driving to ski resorts I didn't bother with winter tyres at all rolling eyes
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https://www.francebleu.fr/infos/societe/les-pneus-neige-obligatoires-en-2019-apres-consultation-des-maires-1539358223?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#Echobox=1539592281
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@under a new name, thanks. Just to confirm, does this say that winter tyres will become mandatory November-March from November 2019, but it will be local mayors who specify in which parts of their jurisdiction this rule will apply?
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Yes @rob@rar, exactly. It will be interesting to see whether communes come down on the side of preventing (or mitigating) the occasional snowmaggedon and regular ice&snow accidents; or opt not to discourage Parisien punters from driving down on their bald summer tyres (or horror! risk losing them to less stringent neighbouring resorts Shocked ). I suspect this is not something which should be left in the hands of the Maires... Skullie
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@shep, In recent years around these parts ( St Jean, Le Biot, Thonon, Morzine ) the Prefect has decided on matters on road safety in winter (When public busses run, when to close roads etc..). It would make sense for the ruling on tyres to be done at departmental level rather than communal level, as by and large visitors to the area will have a better appreciation of which departments they are visiting rather than individual communes.
If it were left our to the mayor, not only would you need winter tyres, you'd also need to be called Baud, Rosset, Premat, or Tournier to be allowed to use the roads.
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@rob@rar, @shep, @WindOfChange, I was under the impression that it was the prefecture that would determine when "specialist equipment" - chains or snow tyres (maybe only for 4wd) would be mandatory, to avoid the chaos of recent years.
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@under a new name, That's what I thought too.
As currently the Prefect makes bad weather road safety decisions for the department.
Can't really see why it would fall to anyone else ?
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Thankfully my car is too basic to have pressure sensors and all that. I shall put the winter tyres on before long - I don't expect to need them much this winter, as I won't be driving to the Alps but I might as well use them up, and they'll be good when the weather gets cold. I have to pay, as I don't have spare rims.
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Our winters went on last week. Not much sign of any winter yet though!

Chamonix Meteo,

FRIDAY OCTOBER 19
Amazingly fair weather ‑ unseasonably mild
SKY CONDITION : clear. Period of sunshine close to 100%.
PRECIPITATION : none.
WIND - aloft : E ‑> variable ‑> NW light.
TEMPERATURE : low +2 °C - high +22°C - temperature inversion toward 1700 m early in the morning.
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under a new name wrote:
@rob@rar, @shep, @WindOfChange, I was under the impression that it was the prefecture that would determine when "specialist equipment" - chains or snow tyres (maybe only for 4wd) would be mandatory, to avoid the chaos of recent years.
Yup, could be, I think your link is ambiguous uann, it says the prefect will consult the mayors, does that mean (hopefully!) the prefect has the last word??
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Another big problem with two sets of wheels is storage, I'd have winter wheels if I could keep them somewhere cheaply and conveniently.
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@shep, I’m pretty sure that's what he’s been arguing for for years.
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