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Winter tires or chains

Winter tires, chains: mandatory equipment in mountain areas from 1 November 2023

Publié le 27 octobre 2022 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

Crédits : candy1812 - stock.adobe.com

In order to improve road traffic in mountainous regions and the safety of users, it is mandatory to equip your vehicle with winter tires or to have snow chains or socks, from 1er November 2023 to March 31, 2024, in selected mountain areas. Entry into force 1er November 2021, this winter obligation is set by a decree published in Official Journal October 18, 2020. Which vehicles, equipment and departments are involved?

Which vehicles are involved?

All vehicles with four or more wheels are covered by this obligation: light vehicles, commercial vehicles, campers, coaches, buses and heavy goods vehicles.

Which areas are affected?

The prefects of the 34 departments located in mountainous massifs (Alps, Corsica, Central Massif, Jurassien Massif, Pyrenees, Vosges Massif) must draw up a list of municipalities in which vehicle equipment becomes compulsory during the winter period, i.e. 1er November to March 31. This list shall be drawn up with and after consultation with the local elected representatives concerned.

You can consult the prefectural orders in the departments concerned.

See the list of municipalities concerned by the obligation of equipment during the winter period.

What signs to indicate mandatory equipment areas?

Road signs shall indicate to road users the entrances to and exits from mountainous areas where the winter equipment requirement applies. A sign indicates the winter period, reminding users that these obligations apply only to 1er November to March 31. Signage is required for the measure to be enforceable.

Crédits : © Ministry of the Interior

What equipment is required?

In areas established by the prefects, vehicles will be required to:

  • have in their trunks metal snow chains or snow socks suitable for fitting at least two driving wheels; or
  • or be equipped with 4 winter tires, mounted on at least 2 wheels of each axle. For the coming winters, from 2023 to 2024, the appellation « winter tire » cover all tires identified by one of the markings « M+S », « M.S » or « M&S » or by the joint presence of « alpine symbol » (recognized as « 3PMSF » (3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake) and one of the markings « M+S », « M.S » or « M&S ». From 1er november 2024, it will only cover tires identified by the joint presence of the marking « alpine symbol » (recognized as « 3PMSF » (3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake) and one of the markings « M+S », « M.S » or « M&S ».

This requirement does not apply to vehicles equipped with stud tires.

Coaches, buses and heavy goods vehicles without trailers or semi-trailers are also subject to these obligations with the choice between winter chains or tires. Heavy goods vehicles with trailers or semi-trailers must have snow chains capable of fitting at least two driving wheels, even if they are equipped with winter tires.

  Please note : Up to 1er November 2024, snow tires marked only "M+S" will be tolerated.

4-season tires (4S, All Weather, All Season ) have no regulatory definition: to be considered winter tires, they must be stamped "3PMSF", or at least "M+S" up to 1er November 2024.

  FYI : From 1er November 2024, only 3PMSF tires will be accepted as chain equivalents. The purchase and use of other "snow tires" will remain possible, but users will also have to hold chains to travel on the 1er November to March 31 in the areas covered by the obligation.

  Warning : Still to allow time to adapt to the obligation to have winter equipment as provided for by the mountain law and its implementing decree, no sanctions will be applied during this winter season 2023-2024. This tolerance must not overshadow the spirit of this regulation: “Continue to improve the safety of road users in winter”.

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