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Are Your Tires Winter Road Worthy?

Are Your Tires Winter Road Worthy?

Installation Management Command – Europe
U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz

Shorter days and cooler temperatures indicate winter is just on the horizon. As such, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz (USAG RP) encourages community members to start getting ready for winter weather now by acquiring the proper tires for their vehicles.

German law mandates the use of either snow tires or all-terrain mud and snow tires when conditions are icy. A new requirement in January 2018 stated all snow or M+S tires be marked with the "Alpine symbol," a three-peak mountain with a snowflake inside it. Tires without the Alpine symbol that were purchased prior to January 2018 may continue to be used until 2024.

According to the USAG RP Safety Office, tires must have at least 1.6 mm of tread depth; but for maximum safety, tires with less than 4 mm should be replaced. A 1-euro coin can be used for a quick tread check. When placed in the tire's tread, you should not be able to see the golden edge of the coin. If you can, the tire needs to be replaced. Tires with spikes and studs are not allowed in Germany.

When are winter tires needed?

There are no specific dates for the use of winter tires, but Germans often adhere to the saying, "von O bis O," meaning October to Ostern (Easter). However, it is important to keep in mind that you can be cited for driving in winter conditions without appropriate tires even outside of these months. Any time snow conditions are present, the requirement for snow tires is federal law.

Can tire chains be used in Germany?

In some areas, tire chains may be required, but only as directed by road signs or police. The maximum speed while driving a vehicle with chains is 50 kph.

What are the penalties for driving without winter tires?

Fines of 40 euros and higher will be enforced for drivers without correct tires on their vehicles. Police can assign blame to a motorist involved in a winter accident whose car does not have snow tires installed, regardless of who caused the accident.

What about rental cars?

It is the driver's responsibility to ensure the rental vehicle is in roadworthy condition, which includes the proper tires. The USAG RP Safety Office recommends drivers request winter tires when reserving a car and verify the tires are installed before accepting the car.


Drivers must ensure their vehicle, whether personal or rental, has appropriate tires for winter road conditions. When shopping for winter tires locally, they may find that certain vehicles’ tires need to be ordered online. Make sure online orders are placed with regard to shipping times so your car is equipped before the winter weather hits. Remember, wherever you choose to buy tires, double-check that the tires have the required Alpine symbol. Check with your local USAG safety office for any updates or safety tips.


Road conditions on military installations are posted on the Installation Management Command-Europe website at https://home.army.mil/roads/.

  • 15 October 2023
  • Author: USACRC Editor
  • Number of views: 275
  • Comments: 0
Categories: Off-DutyPMV-4