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Old 02.12.2020, 16:09
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What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

I recently moved to Switzerland and I've been hearing a lot of conflicting information regarding winter tyre/snow chain requirements in Switzerland.

1) Is is mandatory to use winter tyres during the winter months? [I'm currently running 'all-season' tyres]

2) Is is mandatory to carry snow chains in the car during winter?

3) Any other winter driving regulations that are worth knowing about?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02.12.2020, 16:14
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

Neither are mandatory.

Tom
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Old 02.12.2020, 16:20
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

yes, there are no rules requiring winter tyres. however your insurance requires you to have be 'suitably' equipped. therefore if you slid off the road on summer tyres in the snow they 'might' take exception.

BTW, all seasons are terrible. buy a set of summers and a set of winters. you'll only wear the tyres currently on the car so it doesn't cost any more.
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Old 02.12.2020, 16:23
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

apparently, many of the accidents in the first snow in the lowlands this season were down to people not having winter tyres on.

not mandatory, as pointed out but much more suitable in this weather, safer and likely to not upset your insurer.

it is worth mentioning that some neighbouring countries and regions mandate winter tyres.
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Old 02.12.2020, 16:26
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

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yes, there are no rules requiring winter tyres. however your insurance requires you to have be 'suitably' equipped. therefore if you slid off the road on summer tyres in the snow they 'might' take exception.
Plus if an accident is caused the Police may impose a fine due to driving with an unsafe vehicle/conditions, etc - all could end up very costly.

Information explained in very clear terms by TCS in each of the national languages

https://www.tcs.ch/fr/tests-conseils...e-en-hiver.php
https://www.tcs.ch/fr/camping-voyage...r-etranger.php
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Old 02.12.2020, 16:35
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

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3) Any other winter driving regulations that are worth knowing about?
Last and not least, cleaning the windows as well as front/rear lights of snow and ice is mandatory, one can get fined and even lose the license if driver's view or signalling is obstructed. It's a good idea to clean any snow off the car for the same reason. All explained in the TCS advice above
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Old 02.12.2020, 16:40
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

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1) Is is mandatory to use winter tyres during the winter months?
No, no one is going to check which tires are mounted on your car. But, if there's an accident not having winter tires may have consequences as traffic fines and insurance not wanting to pay.

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2) Is is mandatory to carry snow chains in the car during winter?
No, but in steep roads in the mountains covered with snow, specially if there's a schneeketten obligatorisch sign. So far I've only seen this on Graubunden up in the hills https://www.tcs.ch/de/testberichte-r...igatorisch.php
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Old 02.12.2020, 16:40
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

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BTW, all seasons are terrible.
Thats really not true, the best all season are very good, I spend 4 months a year in the mountains & am perfectly happy using All Season.
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Old 02.12.2020, 16:52
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

This whole idea of winter tyres being needed and better than all-season ones is a bit of a red herring to me. When I lived in the US, in an area that has much more and more frequent snowfall than in the Basel area, I had quality all-season tyres and never had an issue driving. My parents used to have summer and winter tyres many years ago but the materials technology has changed a lot since then.

I do see the use for them when driving to the mountains that are much higher, but just for normal driving on the streets and highways? I do it, of course, to protect myself on the insurance side and the fact that they don't plow the roads as frequently as they should. Seems more an attitude of "it's snowing? Stay home."

What causes accidents in the snow, especially the first snow of the season, is people forgetting how to drive in snowy conditions and continuing to think they can go as fast and drive the same as in normal weather. Even with the best winter tyres or four wheel drive, the laws of physics don't care.
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Old 02.12.2020, 17:10
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

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Even with the best winter tyres or four wheel drive, the laws of physics don't care.
This is misleading - yes the laws of physics clearly apply, and if your tyre has more friction you will stop quicker or turn more reliably based on those laws.

Winter tyres definitely have more grip in snow, which means that although you still have to drive appropriately for the conditions you have more friction range to do that and can give yourself more safety margin while still maintaining a decent speed etc.

I could stay on summer tyres, did it the first year I was here, and got fed up of driving around like an old granny or a duck on ice. Second year with winter tyres was a revelation in freedom and stress reduction.
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Old 02.12.2020, 17:18
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

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This is misleading - yes the laws of physics clearly apply, and if your tyre has more friction you will stop quicker or turn more reliably based on those laws.

Winter tyres definitely have more grip in snow, which means that although you still have to drive appropriately for the conditions you have more friction range to do that and can give yourself more safety margin while still maintaining a decent speed etc.

I could stay on summer tyres, did it the first year I was here, and got fed up of driving around like an old granny or a duck on ice. Second year with winter tyres was a revelation in freedom and stress reduction.

Yeah, it was a bit of hyperbole but the basic tenet rings true that you cannot drive the same in snow (or rain) as you do in dry, sunny weather. It does amaze me that people seem to forget this each year.


Also, if we're being pedantic, summer tyres are not the same as all-season tyres I've driven on fresh snow, packed snow, wet snow, dry snow and during heavy snow storms with all-season tyres and never had an issue.
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Old 02.12.2020, 17:25
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

A lot of people think 4WD means 4 Wheel Stop. It doesn't

Driving with summer tires/tyres in temperatures below 4C are going to cause you grief. Guaranteed

Note they are Winter tyres/tires, not Snow tires/tyres.
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Old 02.12.2020, 17:33
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

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A lot of people think 4WD means 4 Wheel Stop. It doesn't

Driving with summer tires/tyres in temperatures below 4C are going to cause you grief. Guaranteed

Note they are Winter tyres/tires, not Snow tires/tyres.
I don't mean to deflate the whole topic, but any mods want to stick this onto the other old winter tyre treads that aren't worn out? It's a tired subject at this point and the many points of friction have been gone into to at least the minimum of 1.6mm depth on this.
I feel these wheel ideas just keep going around in circles.
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Old 02.12.2020, 17:38
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

We had a fair amount of snow yesterday and I drove down to the valley in my Landrover Defender. It doesn't have actual winter tyres, i.e. no snowflake symbol, but they do have the M&S (Mud and Snow, not Marks and Sparks) mark. (Real winter tyres aren't generally available in the rather odd size of the standard steel wheels). So in effect they're 'all-season' tyres.

Anyway, it's not news to me, but compared with either of our 'sporty' awd cars with proper winter tyres the grip available is appalling, so I pussy-footed my way down, not helped by quite dense fog at times as well. I've quite a bit of experience with these, and although the LR will get out of anything with its high ground clearance and lockable diff, for normal road driving on those tyres it leaves a lot to be desired.

It's been discussed here many times, but for anyone thinking that all-season tyres are sufficient - please stay away from the snowy mountain roads, as I really don't want to meet you on the road.
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Old 02.12.2020, 17:40
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

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I don't mean to deflate the whole topic, but any mods want to stick this onto the other old winter tyre treads that aren't worn out? It's a tired subject at this point and the many points of friction have been gone into to at least the minimum of 1.6mm depth on this.
I feel these wheel ideas just keep going around in circles.
Haha.

Yes, I was meaning to do so, but my time is short and a simple search returns far too many threads to read each in turn. If you could help by finding all the related threads and send them by PM I'll get onto it. Ta.
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Old 02.12.2020, 17:40
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

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A lot of people think 4WD means 4 Wheel Stop. It doesn't

Driving with summer tires/tyres in temperatures below 4C are going to cause you grief. Guaranteed

Note they are Winter tyres/tires, not Snow tires/tyres.

Well said on the 4WD; those drivers are often the worse culprits!


One thing I forgot to mention in my comments on driving with all-season tyres was that during the winter the temperatures would often be below 4C with a drop sometimes to -18C.
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Old 02.12.2020, 17:40
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

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A lot of people think 4WD means 4 Wheel Stop. It doesn't

Driving with summer tires/tyres in temperatures below 4C are going to cause you grief. Guaranteed

Note they are Winter tyres/tires, not Snow tires/tyres.
On the first point, there is still a significant difference in stopping with 4WD.

In very slippy conditions ABS is less effective on undriven wheels, they don't have enough friction to keep them moving so they stall even though the brakes haven't really locked.

4WD will keep enough motion to prevent this on all four wheels. Which is also why you shouldn't press the clutch (at least initially) when braking on ice with ABS.

It is also definitely worth going for an hour on a skid pan; obviously it's good fun but it pretty quickly teaches how vehicles behave in these situations. A nice big private car park covered in snow can do the same, in your own car...
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Old 02.12.2020, 17:41
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

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Thats really not true, the best all season are very good, I spend 4 months a year in the mountains & am perfectly happy using All Season.
well, it categorically is true. both from experience and every tyre test. depends how you drive I suppose, but if you want to get the most out of how your car was designed, I'd stay way clear of them.

I don't understand why people buy pricey and capable vehicles and then skimp on tyres. It's pretty much the most important part of the car that is under your control to change.
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Old 02.12.2020, 17:42
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

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Note they are Winter tyres/tires, not Snow tires/tyres.
Winter tyres are actually marked with a snowflake symbol since 2018.

In the German speaking part of the country, you can also demonstrate expert knowledge by casually mentioning "O bis O" in conversations
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Old 02.12.2020, 17:47
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Re: What are the rules about winter tyres and snow chains in Switzerland?

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This whole idea of winter tyres being needed and better than all-season ones is a bit of a red herring to me. When I lived in the US, in an area that has much more and more frequent snowfall than in the Basel area, I had quality all-season tyres and never had an issue driving.
When I lived in NY, I remember everyone slithering around at a crawling pace on the freeway in their 4wd cars with 'all seasons'. I would charge past at 2 or 3 times the speed in my 2wd M5 on (wide - i.e. not ideal) winters with absolutely no loss of traction.

The level of grip from a modern winter tyre is beyond belief. I'm speaking from the experience of being a rally driver well used working with minor improvements to grip from tyres on gravel, snow and tarmac. (and sand!).
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