Before you go on a winter trip, it is important to check which legal obligations apply locally regarding snow chains. These can differ per country.
In all Alpine countries (Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland), snow chains are compulsory on certain mountain roads and on snowy road surfaces, of course. This is then indicated by the following traffic sign:
In the Aoste Valley in Italy you are obliged to have snow chains between 15 October and 15 April.
In the tunnels in Austria (Arlbertunnel) and Switzerland (Selisberg, St Gottard, San Bernandino tunnels) snow chains are explicitly prohibited, but in a tunnel you do not really need them.
In Croatia, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Slovenia you are obliged to have chains with you. Moreover, you must use them in Croatia on icy roads or when there is 5 cm of snow.
In the Scandinavian countries Norway, Sweden & Finland, snow chains must be used ‘when the weather conditions demand it’.
|Germany||Snow chains are obliged with snow conditions and when traffic sign:|
|Finland||Obliged ‘when circumstances demand it’|
|France||Snow chains are obliged with snow conditions and when traffic sign:|
|Italy||Snow chains are obliged with snow conditions and when traffic signs:||Aoste-valley 15 oct – 15 april: obliged to them in the car|
|Croatia||Obliged to have them in the car||Obligatory use when sleet/5 cm snow|
|Norway||Obliged ‘when circumstances demand it’|
|Austria||Snow chains are obliged with snow conditions and when traffic sign:||Forbidden in Arlbergtunnel|
|Slovakia||Obliged to have them in the car|
|Slovenia||Obliged to have them in the car|
|Tsjechie||Obliged to have them in the car|
|Sweden||Obliged ‘when circumstances demand it’|
|Switzerland||Snow chains are obliged with snow conditions and when traffic sign:||Forbidden in tunnels: Selisberg, St Gottard, San Bernandino|
If one does not comply with the obligation to use snow chains, one runs the risk of a serious fine. It can also have an influence on the co-liability in case of accidents and collisions.
Finally, snow chains in almost all countries are only to be placed in snowy or icy conditions, and are not allowed when they can damage the road surface.
Looking for snow chains? Check which snow chains you need with the handy SnowXchains calculator.