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Winter tyres to be made compulsory in France.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
http://joelgirauddepute.fr/index.php/2019/05/20/conseil-national-de-la-montagne-les-equipements-speciaux-seront-bien-obligatoires-de-maniere-permanente-de-novembre-a-fin-mars-en-montagne-lhiver-prochain/

If I’ve read this right, it looks as if winter tyres are to be made compulsory in mountainous areas in France.
Good.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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AFAIK this will be making what is already a departmental law in some places and making it a federal law. The only real changes I see are signposts and Cars in the Jura will now need snow tyres - this means rental cars on the French side of Geneva will be properly equipped as standard!
As a resident of Haute Savoie I've always had to have snow tyres, so no change for me.
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So how would this affect tourists driving out on holiday? Would they be obliged to have winter tyres?
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It actually says winter tyres or chains. It will be compulsory to have one or the other (or both) in certain areas. I believe communes are being given some flexibility on how this is implemented.

At the moment the police often stop and turn back cars without ie on climbs to resorts when it has snowed. There are overhead signs also on some routes advising compulsory use when conditions make it necessary. But the problem is that cars without still get through, get stuck and hold everyone else up.

Of course it will also apply to hire cars and visitors from abroad, why wouldn't it?

Here in the Oisans, applicable from Grenoble or perhaps further on perhaps, I don't really know, we'll see.

Until end of March seems far too early to me. Significant problems in April too, in fact the Col de Lauteret had heavy snow this weekend.
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GoodYear Vector or Michelin Cross Climate.
Winter M&S rated with snow flake symbol but can leave them all year round.

Introduced to market about 5 years ago when Germany made winter tyres compulsory.
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I have Nokian Weatherproof, got the best reviews in snow for all seasons.
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So hiring a car from Lyon at the end of March 2020 should come with winter tyres as standard now, is that right?
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@SHAP, Should and will mean different things to car hire companies!! Check.
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@Old Man Of Lech, very true. Not booking just yet anyway, but have been toying with renting snow chains, or just buying snow socks when we get there...
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I'm glad this going to be implemented but I can't help thinking those with non-french plated cars will be targeted more to ensure compliance. I think also if you have M&S tyres you would be ok, I don't think you need full-blown snowflake tyres, but I'm sure more details will come out nearer the time.
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@SHAP, the rules are for snow tyres or chains. So I wouldn’t count on it.

@rwilson, I would expect you’d need the 3 mountains and snowflake symbol, not just M+S.

From memory, at least, what was being discussed was moving the “special equipment” boundary from just those roads where you are at altitude, to the boundaries of Savoie and Haute Savoie...
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Love a winter tyres thread.......long overdue in France, and anyone who drives to the Alps in winter should have them.
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@SHAP, Wouldn't rely on 'socks'. Very poor substitute for proper chains, though of course much easier to put on. If taking your own car, just buy chains at a Carrefour or car tyre place on route, (not anywhere near the mountains). Dirt cheap. Make sure you know how to install them before hand though. You Tube is a great help.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Lidl in the UK sometimes have chains too. BUT, I have heard it said that cheap chains are really not up to it. Never had to travel far on them myself.
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@under a new name, fair enough, chains it is. Looking at various car hire places for Lyon, a lot don't have chains as an option. I think it's likely to be easier to rent without, and buy a set when we stop at the supermarket on the way to resort rather than pay an inflated hire cost at the desk!

@Old Man Of Lech, See above. Driven down a couple of times, and had bought chains in advance, so practiced at home, but never needed. Flying this time, and hiring a car, but as said, many of the car hire firms don't give chains as an option to add. Weird!
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CR wrote:
Lidl in the UK sometimes have chains too. BUT, I have heard it said that cheap chains are really not up to it. Never had to travel far on them myself.


Lidl chains may be "cheap"£ but they are proper TUV rated and provided you fit them properly can't see why they would in any way be inferior. Chains are fairly basic things and the differences tend to be in fancier or "easier" ways of fitting and fastening them. A proper basic chain with some secondary rubber tensioners should be fine and for those of us that don't actually live in alpine regions more than up for the job for the 1 in 20 times we'll actually need to use them.

I've never figured out why cables aren't freely available in Europe - easier to fit than most chains, less damaging when bits break etc, and more than adequate for driving duties provided the road is open.
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@Dave of the Marmottes, The cheap chains often use a smaller link size which isn't very strong.
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Someone lent me some American bought cables once, right size for the car I had then. They were hopeless, mind you on a RWD Merc with very low profile tyres Shocked
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Time for my usual intervention and say that for those driving down, the question isn't 'what's the minimum I can get away with legally' it's 'What tyres do I want to have on my car when I hit thin or intermittent snow?' like below, this winter, driving across the Jura to Lausanne. The answer is winters or good all-seasons. Chains just aren't viable in these conditions and summer tyres with chains in the boot would be potentially lethal. Your decision, of course.

https://i.imgur.com/MXE8EyO.mp4


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Fri 24-05-19 15:24; edited 1 time in total
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@under a new name, yep I'm with you on the full blown snow tyre but I'm sure I read somewhere that the tyre requirements where being slightly watered down hence M&S may be permissible. That aside, I'm looking forward to see how my new Toyota Hilux copes in the snow with winters this year on compared to our old RR backup car - should be fun!
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@SHAP, I just emailed Sixt who we will hire from in Grenoble in Feb 2020 - response was "We do confirm that our cars will have winter tyres from November" - of course chains will still be extra if we want them but at least will no longer have to fork out for winter tyres.
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The descriptors get mixed up generally. M+S has always been capable in winter conditions and listed in the past as legal requirement in some countries. That's a true properly marked as such tire with soft rubber, open and self clearing tread.

It's often confused with "chunky" tires being called this when they often are AT all terrain, or MT mud terrain which have different criteria and purpose, these don't substitute for use in snow. people look at them and wrongly call them M+S then wonder why they get stuck, can't steer or stop on snow.

3pms symbol is only a minimum required to perform in testing at certain level above standard control tire, they don't have to be full winter, full snow or as capable as specialist tire. They are in mass market terms really a more all season tire, nothing wrong with this, but to read 3pms as ultimate spec is inaccurate.
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Snow socks are a good option for the one week once a year ski driver, they are as effective as a set of cheap chains and if purchased from Halfords and unused they can be returned within 30 days for a full refund - been there done that when I did a quick weekend trip, they fit in hand luggage, taking a gamble that Chambery hire car would have 16 inch or thereabouts wheels Toofy Grin

Next time did the same and had to use them, so they were thoroughly washed and dried ready for flight home and the next trip. Very Happy
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@ski3, not quite.

“M+S” is manufacturer marketing, not tested nor regulated.

3PMSF is a regulated standard for braking in difficult conditions. I think you’ll find that the gendarmes are looking for 3PMSF when special equipment is mandated.

Clearer explanation here than on manufacturer’s sites, but same message https://www.oponeo.co.uk/tyre-article/winter-tyres-don-t-rely-on-the-m-s-mark
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Difference between M&S and 3mountains as defined by the Rubber Manufactures Association:

http://warringtonbears.org.uk/snowheads/wintertyres.pdf
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@under a new name, it's an interesting testing process for the 3pmsf, as if you read through it then you can see it compares to a std sized non winter tire tested on a gradient (I was reading through while ago and will have to search for link if requested) of something like 1% if I remember correctly.

That's for traction and braking, it may offer qualified control but it didn't seem that severe to me.
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@altis is right. Just ignore any 'M+S' designation as it's unregulated and doesn't tell you anything useful. The key winter requirement is for the 'three peaks and snowflake' symbol which shows the tyre passes formal industry certification for winter compound and tread design. Increasingly, premium all-seasons are 3Peaks*. Manufacturers also slap-on 'M+S' to many winter and all-season tyres just for completeness but you still want them to be 3Peaks*.

Like all types of tyres winters and all-seasons vary in characteristics, so some are more snow-oriented whilst others are more warmer-weather oriented etc. All-seasons are generally - as the name implies - a good all-'round compromise and can handle snow better than summers. But they won't be as good as winter tyres in all-out snow. Winters also tend to have very good resistance to aquaplaning in comparison to all-seasons and summers.

Generally, the biggest difference comes from swapping summer tyres for winters/all-seasons in the first place, and then the differences between one brand/design versus another is more in terms of the final 20% of conditions.

(EDIT: @under a new name - corrected, as you pointed out. Shouldn't try and do posts whilst in transit!)


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Thu 23-05-19 16:29; edited 4 times in total
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@LaForet, for EU? That’s a US association.

3PMSF is a UN (who knew they existed?) regulatory test & mark.
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My Nokian Weatherproof are 3PMSF, not all All Seasons are though I suspect.

They're not as good as the Vredestein winter tyres I had before in deep snow though. Works for me though. Car is garaged and after heavy snow I don't go out in the car unless I absolutely have to, which isn't often. I'm already up here. My chains are over 5 years old and have never been used snowHead
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We have some Vredestein Quatrac All Seasons on the Campervan, ended up not taking it to France during the winter, but it needed a new set anyway. Vredestein Wintracs on our x-trail. Need to get a new set of summers though, so still have winters on at the moment.
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@under a new name, Agreed. M+S often seems to mean very little other than the tyres have a chunkier tread (not always what you want on a snowy road). Most all terrain tyres are M+S although very few are actually suitable for snow. The requirements for ‘all terrain’ usually include good hard rubber to resist damage from rocks etc. This is the daft opposite of the nice soft rubber you need for good winter performance. Not relevant to most people, but the Grabber AT3 is one of the very few that is good off road AND 3pms rated.

As you say, M+S is not a winter tyre and I doubt it would get past a French Gendarme (if he’s got any sense).
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Good M+S, like Michelin CrossClimate, GY Vector 4seasons, Vredestein Quatrac will beat 3peaks marked cheap china winter tyres in winter conditions. If the car is all wheel drive - they are more than enough. Put them on at the end of autumn, drive two winters two summers and repeat that again. Safe, convenient, cheaper than having two sets of alloys with winter and summer tires.
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We have Michelin CrossClimates on our local runaround hatchback which we only use in the UK. This after having tried summers all year, winters all year, and swapping from summers to winters. Actually, the winters all year option worked very well, as the car never did the sort of long motorway runs in the summer that would wear a winter heavily. But all-seasons have advanced so much in recent years the best option seemed to be to go for those come the time to replace. Frankly, I don't understand why all non-performance UK cars don't come with all-seasons as standard now, especially SUVs.

But for our performance convertible (330BHP, rear-wheel drive) we have separate winter wheels and tyres. Even on the south coast there are enough days of colder weather to justify them and their greater resistance to aquaplaning alone is valuable in wet British winters. Driving to the Alps each year swings it to be a no-brainer. But the choice then is for how much of a snow-oriented tyre to go for. I used to use Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie-II because they're a really good performance winter in milder temperatures, but being in the Alps more in recent years, we now have the Pirelli Winter Sottozero S3 which is definitely better in difficult snow conditions (like standing hill starts in a RWD).

Personally, my view is that driving your car to the Alps, especially if you do so each winter, makes the decision to go for all-seasons or winters easy. That they're also useful in the UK even with no snow is icing on the cake.
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Same in Italy guys. The majority of mountain areas (also in the Appennini) already requires either snow tyres or snow chains aboard.
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@LaForet, having all new car buyers to visit you twice a year and charge them for tire/wheel swap is income. That's why dedicated winter or summer tires comes on brand new cars, depends when you buy it.

All seasons in USA are very popular. But those, I have tried (came with cars from copart/iaai crashed car auctions) were useless and unsafe. Hard compound, only a few more grooves than regular summer tires, don't see them performing anything but poor in winter conditions.
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@Kosmoz Here in the UK, all ex-factory cars only come with summer tyres, even now. Almost no one offers the option to have winter tyres or all-seasons on a new car order. So the tradition has been to carry chains or socks, because of the cost of a separate set of winter wheels and tyres. About 5-6 years ago, the premium brands like BMW and Audi started to get into offering winter wheels and tyres as aftermarket accessories, with my local BMW dealer offering storage as part of the package. All-seasons were almost completely unknown here for a long time.

I'd have agreed with you about all-seasons being the Worst of Both Worlds until fairly recently: the 1st Generation of these weren't that great, frankly. UK viewers of US motoring forums were fairly nonplussed by the early threads arguing their pros/cons. But with the advent of products like the Michelin CrossClimate, I think that the difference between all-seasons vs summers in summer/winters in winter has narrowed significantly. To the point where for many mainstream car and SUV models, it would make sense to standardise on all-seasons.

For performance car owners, however, as I said, I think that you'd still be best to go for full summers in summer and winters in winter and that it's the anti-aquaplaning capability of a premium winter tyre that's of particular benefit in the UK. For performance car owners who also take their car to the Alps, it's icing on the cake that they're also good in snow.
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Disappointingly, and confirming my earlier quick read, it appears only for commercial vehicles in classes M1 and N1. La Commission permanente (CP) du Conseil national de la montagne (CNM) présidée par Joël Giraud réunie ce 17 mai en montagne Bourbonnaise avait mis à l’ordre du jour de sa réunion l’état d’avancement du projet de décret relatif à l’obligation d’équipements hiver des véhicules routiers, dont la publication avait été retardée par peur de réactions liées au mouvement des gilets jaunes. Un avis favorable avait déjà été donné par le CNM le 12 octobre 2018, avec toutefois une réserve sur la nécessaire obligation de pneus neige ou chaînes pour les autocars et poids lourds. Joël Giraud se réjouit vivement, aux côtés du Sénateur Jean-Pierre Vial à l’origine de ces amendements et qui avait fait également le déplacement, que le processus de publication du décret arrive enfin à son terme pour une entrée en vigueur au 1er juillet 2019 et une application dès l’hiver 2019/2020. Les équipements prévus ont fait l’objet d’un réajustement pour les autocars et poids lourds sans remorque qui auront une obligation d’équipements avec la possibilité de porter des pneus hiver, la seule détention de chaines restant obligatoire pour les poids-lourds avec remorque ou semi-remorque. Il reste maintenant aux préfets de concerter les maires et gestionnaires (Conseils départementaux, Directions interdépartementales des routes) routiers dans chaque département afin de définir les communes à inclure dans le périmètre concerné par ces obligations, et les routes ou sections de routes à exclure du dispositif, ainsi que les modalités de signalisation routière.

Pour rappel, ce projet de décret fixe les modalités d’application de l’article L 314-1 du code de la route introduit par l’acte II de la loi montagne du 28 décembre 2016 en permettant aux préfets de départements situés en zone de massif (soit 48 départements dans les massifs mentionnés à l’article 5 de la loi du 9 janvier 1985 relative au développement et à la protection de la montagne : Alpes, Corse, Massif central, Massif jurassien, Pyrénées, Massif vosgien) d’arrêter après avis du comité de massif la liste des communes où s’appliquera l’obligation de détention de dispositif amovible (types chaînes sur au moins deux roues) ou de port de pneumatiques hiver sur au moins deux roues par essieu pour tous les véhicules de catégorie M1 et N1, du 1er novembre au 31 mars, à partir de 2019. Il est complété par un autre décret, portant sanction pour les contrevenants qui sera publié à l’automne, et les arrêtés préfectoraux portant périmètre d’obligation. Les détails sur la signalisation et la pédagogie du dispositif seront discutés dès le 22 mai en groupe de travail du CNM.
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I tend to hire cars from GVA airport 2-3 times a season and they always come with snow tyres, so I never spend extra for chains. Last year I was in Val d'isere in pretty heavy snow, needing to get out of my chalet and drive back to GVA, and had no problems.
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@LaForet I always have separate sets of tires for my cars, live in Lithuania, we have a decent winter and compulsory winter/all season tires from 1st nov until 1st april. That's the best to have two.

Not all winter tires are equally designed to perform, some are better suited for germany light winter and high speeds on autobahn on wet, and some for finlands deep winter, all seasons are the same. My mothers VW Jetta came with all seasons like this: http://bit.ly/2Wnr9SQ and copare the thread with decent all seasons, that works well on snow, like michelin http://bit.ly/2YRRW7c or even better, vredestein http://bit.ly/2JIQcdc . No tests needed to see, that Bridgestone don't stand a chance on snow.
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@trmacc, Cheers for that. I'll ping an email too, and see if the plans are the same from Lyon.
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