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Winter Tyres 4x4 France Law?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Can I attach a pic?

A mate has informed its law in France over the winter, is this true and if so what about on 4x4’s
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@roche1800, there's another thread on here somewhere. There you go . https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3280980
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
and here https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3445836&highlight=winter+tyres#3445836
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It will be winter equipment rather than tyres, so snow chains are acceptable. What tyres are on the 4x4? Our X-trail ones wouldn't be suitable, but we've got a set of winter ones we change over.
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roche1800 wrote:
Can I attach a pic?

A mate has informed its law in France over the winter, is this true and if so what about on 4x4’s


There is no change in the law. You don't need winter tires or chains unless road signs indicate otherwise.
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We went to Alpe D’Huez last year. My understanding is that they have changed the law and snow chains or winter tyres are a requirement in ski resorts in France now. Avis had a page on their site stating that if local law requires winter tyres or snow chains they would be automatically included in the rental. Several emails and phone calls to Avis confirmed this (after I emailed their CEO) and eventually they gave us complimentary winter tyres. They removed the page though.
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IainMcT wrote:
We went to Alpe D’Huez last year. My understanding is that they have changed the law and snow chains or winter tyres are a requirement in ski resorts in France now. Avis had a page on their site stating that if local law requires winter tyres or snow chains they would be automatically included in the rental. Several emails and phone calls to Avis confirmed this (after I emailed their CEO) and eventually they gave us complimentary snow chains although we did have winter tyres too. They removed the page though.
We were told that police were checking people arriving at resorts and turning them away if they didn’t have chains.
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In some ways, it's not an issue of legality (although it may be a legal requirement), rather, one of practicality and safety.

However unlikely it may be, you may be forced to fit chains on your car by the police. You may also simply need to, because of the conditions. This does happen, every year, somewhere, at some time. It doesn't have to be a Snowmaggedon scenario - it can be as prosaic as a steep, ice-covered drive out of your apartment parking.

A lot of UK spec' 4x4s, AWDs, SUVs and performance(ish) cars come with wheels and tyres that can't take conventional chains. This is because there's not enough space between the inside of the tyre and the suspension/steering/brake pipes for a chain - especially a slightly loose one - to rotate. We once had a UK Spec' Jeep Grand Cherokee and were astonished to discover that it fell into this category: the UK spec' had flashy, low-profile wheels and tyres that were too big to take chains. So, take look at what's fitted on your car, then consult your Owners Manual, and see if your wheel spec' can take chains - if unsure, ask your garage.

If the manufacturer says your spec' can't take chains, then you have a number of choices:

1. You can keep the wheels and tyres you have and get one of the (expensive) front-fitting snow chains, like the Spikes Spider Easy Alpine.
2. You can change the wheels and tyres for a size approved by your manufacturer, and carry 'conventional' chains.

If you opt for [2] it would be sensible to go for winter tyres as well. These will be useful in a wet British winter anyway (more resistant to aquaplaning) as well as better in snow. It may mean you never resort to chains. But you'll need to carry chains as well, in case.

And in terms of safety, if you take your car to the Alps, then for me, it swings the argument for getting winter tyres. Even if you never hit snow, you'll be safer in the lower temperatures. And the winter tyres will really come into their own when you hit the not unusual situation of alternating tarmac/snow/tarmac (e.g. https://imgur.com/gallery/U4Vslij )


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Sun 6-10-19 14:35; edited 2 times in total
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davidof wrote:


There is no change in the law.


Annoyingly, Very Irritating State of Affairs.
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under a new name wrote:
davidof wrote:


There is no change in the law.


Annoyingly, Very Irritating State of Affairs.


I agree. Maybe next winter?
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davidof wrote:
under a new name wrote:
davidof wrote:


There is no change in the law.


Annoyingly, Very Irritating State of Affairs.


I agree. Maybe next winter?


Yes, but what will need to happen this winter to make the law change for next?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
roche1800 wrote:
Can I attach a pic?

A mate has informed its law in France over the winter, is this true and if so what about on 4x4’s


It should make no difference whether a 4x4 or 2wd, plenty of 4x4s have failed to stop or slid sideways off the road, it's not just about traction.
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boredsurfin wrote:
davidof wrote:
under a new name wrote:
davidof wrote:


There is no change in the law.


Annoyingly, Very Irritating State of Affairs.


I agree. Maybe next winter?


Yes, but what will need to happen this winter to make the law change for next?


need to get the municipal elections out the way before enacting the law (which dates from 2016, so it is not something new).
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
davidof wrote:
boredsurfin wrote:
davidof wrote:
under a new name wrote:
davidof wrote:


There is no change in the law.


Annoyingly, Very Irritating State of Affairs.


I agree. Maybe next winter?


Yes, but what will need to happen this winter to make the law change for next?


need to get the municipal elections out the way before enacting the law (which dates from 2016, so it is not something new).


With protests just about to kick off over pension reforms, no one up for re-election is going to tell millions of French residents they also need to buy €400 of winter tyres.

Having watched a French BMW X5 slide all the way down the hill in front of us, 'pin balling' between parked coaches and the armco, there is no way I would drive there without them. Out 2WD Golf on winter tyres had no problems at all with traction.
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roche1800 wrote:
A mate has informed its law in France over the winter, is this true and if so what about on 4x4’s
A few years ago I was driving up to Les Arcs in a very bad (good?) snowstorm. The local police were controlling traffic in Bourg St Maurice (850m) for the main access road up the Tarentaise to Val d'Isere/Tignes, etc, and the road up to Les Arcs. There was a queue of traffic as most cars were being directed to fit chains, and those without chains were turned around. The car in front of me in the queue was an Audi 4x4, and that was directed by the police to fit chains; I was in a 4x4 with winter tyres (Kia Sportage) and was waved through. I have no idea what the law stated about winter equipment back then, but it seems to me that the reality of access roads to ski resorts has always been winter equipment is necessary, just because the police will stop you driving up the hill without appropriate equipment if conditions are bad.

I can certainly sympathise with local residents who want a law mandating winter tyres at all times during winter months, as this might help avoid some of the utter chaos we occasionally see when a busy transfer day coincides with a heavy snowstorm.

Probably worth dusting off this link:

http://youtube.com/v/mfuE00qdhLA
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@bar shaker, as I understand it, it’s not about to mandate Parisiens getting snow tyres, it simply extends the zones where the gendarmes can mandate snow tyres or chains, so that when it snows heavily in Annemasse, you can be told to be properly tooled up, rather than as you turn onto the little road up to Avoriaz where the “aire de chainage” isn’t really big enough for all the stuck Parisiens.
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I've driven to les arc 1800 for each of the last 5 years and only had to put snow chains on once on the way up, but always take them. The time they were needed, the police were stopping cars at the bottom of the hill and seemed to only be allowing cars with chains through.

Everyone fell into three groups - those with no chains who went to Bourg, those who hadnt tried to fit them before they had to, and then spent 45 mins at the side of the road in the dark, freezing cold, wind and snow trying to fit them reading instructions using the light on their phones, and those who worry about these things, who had them and could fit them, being able to go to the resort with very little delay.

At the time we were in an Audi A3 with minimum space to fit chains due to lack of rear clearance as in earleir posts, so we had ended up buying Thulle K23 that fitted like a dream in about 2 mins per wheel. We now have a Land Rover with winter tyres as well as chains just in case the police stop us as its not worth the risk of them being stubborn and stopping us going up the hill.

They do a fab job of clearing the roads but there will be times when it settles and it only takes a couple of cars to stop and be stranded, to block the road
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
There is no change in the regulation (it is a hoax).

You do not have to buy winter equipment. But depending on the conditions, if you do not have winter tyres the Gendarmerie may force you to put the snowchains at some specific places. That's it.
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@proskilab, But if you don't have winter equipment, i.e. snow chains, socks or winter tyres and the police are mandating their use to continue on your journey, you are basically screwed.
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@ipken, proper M3SF tyres?

@proskilab, not a hoax, as such, but a misunderstanding following some over enthusiastic media reporting.

As I understand it,

1. Nothing has changed for car drivers.

2. What law has passed - but not implemented - I think means that the gendarmes can mandate that you have adequate equipments anywhere in a massively bigger area than before and they can mandate fitting of that equipment in that area.

3. A bit like Aoste (IT), technically you must have winter tyres or carry snow chains on the Autostrada 15.10 - 15.4.

It was rather amusing a few years ago round xmas watching a long queue being pulled over by the Pols on the Italian side and being told to go back to France to get chains.

It must be said that without adequate equipment the Italian side would have been lethal.
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wills_h wrote:
@proskilab, But if you don't have winter equipment, i.e. snow chains, socks or winter tyres and the police are mandating their use to continue on your journey, you are basically screwed.


Yes, until the road is cleaned up.
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under a new name wrote:


@proskilab, not a hoax, as such, but a misunderstanding following some over enthusiastic media reporting.

As I understand it,

1. Nothing has changed for car drivers.

2. What law has passed - but not implemented - I think means that the gendarmes can mandate that you have adequate equipments anywhere in a massively bigger area than before and they can mandate fitting of that equipment in that area.

3. A bit like Aoste (IT), technically you must have winter tyres or carry snow chains on the Autostrada 15.10 - 15.4.

It was rather amusing a few years ago round xmas watching a long queue being pulled over by the Pols on the Italian side and being told to go back to France to get chains.

It must be said that without adequate equipment the Italian side would have been lethal.


1. Yes
2. The implementation "decret d'application" has not been published. Frankly I am not sure it will ever be after the "Gilet Jaunes" demonstrations, as winter tyres/snowcains are quite a budget and are most often useless if you don't live in altitude. So nothing has changed. The "prefet" (local authorities) always had the power to require snow equipment for some areas in exceptional circumstances.
3. You do not need any equipment on the highway

Very Happy
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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!
rob@rar wrote:
roche1800 wrote:
A mate has informed its law in France over the winter, is this true and if so what about on 4x4’s
A few years ago I was driving up to Les Arcs in a very bad (good?) snowstorm. The local police were controlling traffic in Bourg St Maurice (850m) for the main access road up the Tarentaise to Val d'Isere/Tignes, etc, and the road up to Les Arcs. There was a queue of traffic as most cars were being directed to fit chains, and those without chains were turned around. The car in front of me in the queue was an Audi 4x4, and that was directed by the police to fit chains; I was in a 4x4 with winter tyres (Kia Sportage) and was waved through. I have no idea what the law stated about winter equipment back then, but it seems to me that the reality of access roads to ski resorts has always been winter equipment is necessary, just because the police will stop you driving up the hill without appropriate equipment if conditions are bad.

I can certainly sympathise with local residents who want a law mandating winter tyres at all times during winter months, as this might help avoid some of the utter chaos we occasionally see when a busy transfer day coincides with a heavy snowstorm.

Probably worth dusting off this link:

http://youtube.com/v/mfuE00qdhLA


Great video. It confirms my own experience with an Allroad quattro and the test of several tyres. The 4x4 will only double locomotion. If you have summer tyres, it will double not much. So using a 4x4 is not enough to get through. You need to have winter tyres (or all-season tyres that are labeled 3PMSF) as a prerequisite. 4x4 will show a significant difference only if you have them.

I now use crossclimate+ "all season" tyres. There are not as good as winter tyres especially in terms of lateral grip, but good enough to climb anywhere in the winter, with a 4x4.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Sat 12-10-19 21:52; edited 1 time in total
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Similar experience to @rob@rar. Had a nifty Pajero EVO for a few years and on winter tyres that thing could do anything, we towed a Mercedes Sprinter van that got stuck once ( loved that thing, it was so nutty and ran on LPG as well!). Since the arrivals of the little ones we have gone soft though and the R Class Mercedes on summer tyres was pants (had the embarrassment of sliding round a corner in front of the ski bus once - can only imagine the comments when they saw the UK plates) and as others have said been stopped at the bottom of our hill and ordered to put chains on. BMW X5 now has winter tyres that are due to be swapped on in a couple of weeks. I like having them on for the drive in winter as you never know when you run into lots of water or snow on the autoroute. But we also carry chains and have had cause to use them, after a particularly snowy night followed by a very early start, but they came off once we dropped down a bit.
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@proskilab, my bad, I should have said,


3. A bit like Aoste (IT), where technically you must have winter tyres or carry snow chains on the Autostrada 15.10 - 15.4.

But, on reflection, even that doesn't make actual sense, as all the rule was going to do was give stronger and wider powers to mandate snow equipment.

I don't care, having lived in CH for 13 years, I switch as though I was Swiss.
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under a new name wrote:

I don't care, having lived in CH for 13 years, I switch as though I was Swiss.


Me neither. 20+ years of driving out, commit 40 minutes to swapping the wheels/tyres twice a year. Usually manage to get one swap to coincide with the annual service so don’t even need to jack it up myself.
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@DJL, in Switzerland our extremely nice Nissan dealer would give the car a winterisation checkup as the winters were fitted. Which I will ask our nice Chamonix independents to do as well.
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