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Old 15.11.2009, 21:00
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Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

Hi

Please can someone explain to me the Swiss law esp in Ticino canton, on having Snow tyres or Snow chains in Switzerland and how you are affected generally with insurance please in case of accidents etc ?

I understand the safety implications of course , just need to know the law and insurance issues please and any advice.

Wanting to get ready for winter !

Thanks
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Old 15.11.2009, 22:37
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

The use of winter tyres is not an obligation but recommend from the end of October to end of March in Ticino (depending a bit on the altitude where you live). Even when there is no snow ¨black ice¨ can create difficult driving conditions and you can be held resposible for any accidents caused if not equipped properly for winter. Chains are obligatory when indicated by road signs.
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Old 16.11.2009, 00:06
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

Whilst it is true that no winter tyres or chains are required by law in Ticino at the moment, do watch the situation in Italy. The 'greater' Como area (Provincia di Como) has made it compulsory to either have winter tyres on or to carry chains even on a sunny day. The directive has come into force today and is valid until 31st March 2010. There is a Eur 75 fine for those who do not comply. I am not aware of a similar directive for Varese but each province is free to apply this law, depending - of course - on its location, climate, etc.
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Old 24.11.2009, 08:28
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Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino-UPDATE

In typical Italian fashion, the Provincia di Como has issued a clarificatory note to their 'snow tyres or chains on board' edict: the Eur 75 fine will only be enforced in the event of snow or ice on the roads. So if the weather is sunny and the roads dry all will be well, until next time, of course..
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Old 24.11.2009, 08:42
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

If you are ever going to use your car in snowy weather, especially on any non-level ground, then you need snow tires. The insurance don't enter into it. It does mean that after you have been stupid enough to not have snow tires on your car you are going to be made to feel even more of a pillock when you discover that your insurance company doesn't want to pay out for damages. This will be because they will claim that you were negligent and therefor responsible for causing the accident in the first place. At this point the burden of proof is not on the company it is on you the improperly equipped driver.

As insurance companies help write the law, I can't imagine it being significantly different in cantons that aren't flat. You do have mountains in Ticino, right?

Good Luck,
Brian.
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Last edited by the_clangers; 24.11.2009 at 19:34. Reason: typo
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Old 24.11.2009, 08:55
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

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Hi

Please can someone explain to me the Swiss law esp in Ticino canton, on having Snow tyres or Snow chains in Switzerland and how you are affected generally with insurance please in case of accidents etc ?

I understand the safety implications of course , just need to know the law and insurance issues please and any advice.

Wanting to get ready for winter !

Thanks
A) The law says that your tyres have to be "appropriate" and this means in case of Greater Zurich (including outer suburbs) very good summer tyres or winter tyres

B) Winter tyres under normal conditions not only are enough, snow chains are not allowed as they would damage the roads and not really help

C) It is announced over TV, Radio, internet and by police, where snow-chains have to be mounted, and police puts up clear signals where they have to be DEmounted

D) you might be in problems with the insurance company if they come to the conclusions that you were guilty of gross negligence, but not if you got into an accident due to a sudden freezing of a particular area enroute, or due to sudden heavy snowfall
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Old 24.11.2009, 13:26
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

In general snow tyres should be used when temperatures drop to 7 degrees C or below.
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Old 24.11.2009, 14:22
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

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If you are ever going to use your car in snowy weather, especially on any non-level ground, they you need snow tires. The insurance don't enter into it. It does mean that after you have been stupid enough to not have snow tires on your car you are going to be made to feel even more of a pillock when you discover that your insurance company doesn't want to pay out for damages. THis will be because they will claim that you were negligent and therefor responsible for causing the accident in the first place. At this point the burden of proof is not on the company it is on you the improperly equipped driver.

As insurance companies help write the law, I can't imagine it being significantly different in cantons that aren't flat. You do have mountains in Ticino, right?

Good Luck,
Brian.
That's clear and concise then

Winter tyres are not just for show, they are a different compound to summer tyre to aid grip in lower temps'. and have a tread pattern designed to shed water/slush/snow.

Snow chains are for snow and should be used when the situation dictates, but normally packed snow or when the signs are out.

Insurance companies can refuse to pay out if you don't have suitable tyres fitted (I guess this could include bald tyres in summer too?).

Many people have 2 sets of wheels,alloys with summer tyres and steel with winter ones, as the salt can affect the finnish on alloys and snow chains can scour the softer surface of an alloy wheel. My car has some fancy sensor on each wheel so a spare set of wheels for me is not affordable just now, so I have the tyres swapped and the garage stores my 4 summer tyres for 34 chf, and I'm buying a set of chains this weekend.
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Old 24.11.2009, 15:46
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

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That's clear and concise then
Err, yep, clear and concise. If not a bit rude! Well, maybe Blunt and Direct.

Sorry about that. But reason for this is that I keep reading people requesting not information as such but permission to not put snow tires on their vehicles. Or trying to figure out how to get around it.

Here's concise. If you have summer tires on your vehicle don't drive it when the temp drops below 0 (risk of freezing) or when there is snow on the roads. Unless, of course you are willing to accept the consequences.

I don't want to be on the road with people, especially in mountainous terrain, who can't be bothered or don't understand why it's important to fit snow tires.

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<snip good information>

Insurance companies can refuse to pay out if you don't have suitable tyres fitted (I guess this could include bald tyres in summer too?).

Many people have 2 sets of wheels,alloys with summer tyres and steel with winter ones, as the salt can affect the finnish on alloys and snow chains can scour the softer surface of an alloy wheel. My car has some fancy sensor on each wheel so a spare set of wheels for me is not affordable just now, so I have the tyres swapped and the garage stores my 4 summer tyres for 34 chf, and I'm buying a set of chains this weekend.
Correct of course. But, it's not only about being responsible for accident liability. If you were pulled over for a random inspection you could be cited for faulty equipment.

If you get some nice chains you shouldn't have trouble with your alloys getting scratched.
This company, Weissenfels, makes, IMHO, the best and easiest to use chains on the market.
I have these and while they are not cheap, neither are they expensive. What they are is very easy to put on your vehicle. They are also wonderfully effective. They even come with a box and gloves.
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Old 24.11.2009, 15:58
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

Say, I am a UK citizen registered as living in UK and coming to Switzerland for a skiing holiday in Andermatt for two weeks over Xmas.
Surely carrying snow chains to put on standard tyres is sufficient?

So from these posts, cn I conclude that if you have say 4mm on your standard tyres and a set of snow chains in the boot, you can drive around Switzerland and the Province of Como without breaking the law?

By the way does the road from the motorway at the Gotthard to Andermatt village ever require one to put the snow chains on? I ask this bceause so far I have never needed them?
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Old 24.11.2009, 16:08
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

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Say, I am a UK citizen registered as living in UK and coming to Switzerland for a skiing holiday in Andermatt for two weeks over Xmas.
Surely carrying snow chains to put on standard tyres is sufficient?

So from these posts, cn I conclude that if you have say 4mm on your standard tyres and a set of snow chains in the boot, you can drive around Switzerland and the Province of Como without breaking the law?

By the way does the road from the motorway at the Gotthard to Andermatt village ever require one to put the snow chains on? I ask this bceause so far I have never needed them?
I don't know about "require" snow chains but I remember going through there last year and it would have made life a lot better if everyone had had snow chains. Or at least good snows. Most people did but you could tell the ones that didn't they were in the ditches, well off of the road, or pulled over in the petrol stations looking at the snow chain displays. It wasn't really snowing on the Italian side but once you came out in Switzerland, woof! I thought that the police were pulling people over in the villages. Maybe the drivers were just being smart.

I would have enjoyed it if it hadn't been for all of the people. I like driving in snow when I am in control and its safe.

Brian.
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Old 24.11.2009, 16:37
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

I think that this subject has been done to death on EF. For the sake of your own skin, loved ones, unloved ones and the proverbial cat and dog called "Lucky", get winter tires fitted from October until March when driving in Switzerland and keep a set of chains in the trunk when you know that you're going to be headed into the mountains or above 1'000 meters on roads that aren't plowed regularly.

As many have said, the law does not specifically use the term "winter tire" for vehicle owners, but you're going to have an igloo bunch of fun trying to get any money from your insurance company if you wreck your ride on ice and snow and don't have them fitted. I went for a slide last winter in perfectly decent winter tires and all the winter driving course instruction in the world won't stop you feeling like a passenger in a 2 ton independent machine when you have no grip. I missed the tree with less than a couple of inches to spare BTW, I'd already given up hope at the time and was waiting for that sickening crunch that, thankfully, never came this time.
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Old 24.11.2009, 18:04
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

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...
So from these posts, cn I conclude that if you have say 4mm on your standard tyres and a set of snow chains in the boot, you can drive around Switzerland and the Province of Como without breaking the law?...
A clear NO for Switzerland as the minimum must be 7 mm! Be careful, though...!
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Old 24.11.2009, 18:10
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

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Say, I am a UK citizen registered as living in UK and coming to Switzerland for a skiing holiday in Andermatt for two weeks over Xmas.
Surely carrying snow chains to put on standard tyres is sufficient?

So from these posts, cn I conclude that if you have say 4mm on your standard tyres and a set of snow chains in the boot, you can drive around Switzerland and the Province of Como without breaking the law?

By the way does the road from the motorway at the Gotthard to Andermatt village ever require one to put the snow chains on? I ask this bceause so far I have never needed them?
Sufficient yes, but under usual circumstances against the law, at least until you are up in the mountains in an area where snowchains are indicated as mandatory. The road to Andermatt generally is cared for in a way that snowchains only rarely are required, and on the motorways they even are prohibited. For driving accross the alps I would strongly recommend winter tyres, not necessarily however for driving between Basel and Lucerne.
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Old 24.11.2009, 18:14
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

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A clear NO for Switzerland as the minimum must be 7 mm! Be careful, though...!
Standard new tyres only have 7mm of tread don't they and the wear bars are at 1.5mm?
Or do you mean winter tyres have to have 7mm of tread to be winter tyres?
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Old 24.11.2009, 18:23
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

Are you being difficult on purpose? Abiding by a set of rules that are designed for the safety of you and yours and you want to split hairs.
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Old 24.11.2009, 18:32
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

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Are you being difficult on purpose? Abiding by a set of rules that are designed for the safety of you and yours and you want to split hairs.
NO; but some post here state that Winter Tyres are recommended; NOT compulsory.

Someone is stating that you need to have a minimum of 7mm of tread.

BUT: new standard tyres come with maximum of about 7mm.

So, I hardly think I am splitting hairs with my question!

I have a car with about 6mm of tread left on standard tyres and snow chains in the boot.
The car probably does 4,000 miles per annum.
Winter trips are to Andermatt from Lugano for skiiing.
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Old 24.11.2009, 19:15
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

Ohfergoodnessake: Obligations for Winter Tyres in Europe.

IMHO, anyone who lives in an area where winter tires are recommended
and doesn't fit them clearly doesn't value their, their families or other
peoples' lives.
.
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Old 24.11.2009, 19:26
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

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Standard new tyres only have 7mm of tread don't they and the wear bars are at 1.5mm?
Or do you mean winter tyres have to have 7mm of tread to be winter tyres?
I cannot tell you about millimeters, and such figures are irrelevant. The law is saying "appropriate", and this in practice means that a policemen can control your car and tell you that your tyres are NOT appropriate and fine you and force you to get correct tyres before continuing the journey. Thumb rules are
> have winter tyres if driving into the mountains
> leave the car at home in case of heavy sudden snowfall in low areas, unless
> you HAVE winter tyres
> realize that in case of an accident, an insurance company can conclude that your tyres were not appropriate and reduce their payment severely
> only use snowchains if it is clearly indicated as mandatory
> never use snowchains when on motorways
-
for more details ask your garage or the nearest police station
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Old 24.11.2009, 19:29
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Re: Snow tyres Versus Snow chains and the Law ? Ticino.

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If you regularily are doing this mountain trip in ski season, with a Swiss registered car wouldn't it be better to just have winter tyres on the car permenantly, then you'll never have a problem. The area is slightly grey in that it isn't law, but insurance companies can withhold settlement of a claim as has already been stated if you don't have them, if it's a non-Swiss plated car I guess it's your choice. Winter tyres can be had for less than 100 chf a pop, surely a paultry sum to someone who can keep a car which only does 4k pa, and probably way less than the excess in which ever country you have the car insured, and priceless in relation to the additional grip/saftey they provide.
Papa Goose is correct in this.

Maybe I didn't understand. I thought the question was regarding a one off trip. If you are doing this all of the time you should just buy a set of winter tires and have them permanently mounted on spare wheels. This way you can change off and on at will. It will ease your mind and make driving easier when weather gets bad. Having no problems is not the same as the extra control you get with the correct tires.

Plus, I can tell you as someone who has done it both ways it isn't anymore expensive. The problem is if you are using the wrong tires you don't get good wear from them. You pay more up front but your tires not only work better but they wear better. They may not last longer but they won't wear out quicker either. Unused tires last at least 4 or 5 years. Eventually tires get old, but if you store them properly they last quite long.

Good Luck,
Brian.
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