Changes to German winter tyres obligation law
On 1 June 2017 a change in the German law concerning winter tyre obligations for HGVs came into effect.
The new rule stipulates that commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight exceeding 3.5 t not only have to be equippede with winter tyres on the driv axle during winter conditions - as until now - but also on the 'front steering axles'.
Nevertheless, there is no need to panic because the law may have come into effect, but it applies from winter 2020/2021.
Another change to this law comes into effect in 2024: M+S tyres will no longer be permitted on drive or steering axles during winter conditions. Those with the 3PMSF symbol (Three Peak Mountain Snowflake) are, however, still allowed.
Such a long period before the law is applied was granted to give industry, trade and transport companies enough time to adapt. M+S tyres can still be used until 2024 but only those produced until the end of 2017.
It is important to point out that 3PMSF tyres - like M+S tyres - are technically not considered winter tyres although their use is accepted: they can be used throughout the entire year. If, however, one is travelling to Norway real winter tyres must be put on. These allow a much better grip on snow or icy roads.
When, on the other hand, one travels to warmer climes above 6 degrees, the tyres have to be changed immediately. The softer "real" winter tyres wear out more quickly in warmer conditions and the vehicle does not run so smoothly, whereas all-season tyres produce less rolling friction and last longer.
During this change concerning the mandatory tyres during winter conditions, many transport companies will not only equip the compulsory axles with these tyres but also the trailer's axles.