The Exchange Europe Car Care Centers want to remind all privately owned vehicle (POVs) operators in Germany of requirements to have mud and snow tires on their vehicles during winter conditions of snow and ice.
“We’re starting to see those cold crisp mornings now that are the harbingers of cold winter nights ahead. These mornings are prime for experiencing black ice on the local roads, and that ice will appear long before we get snow on the ground,” said Lt. Col. Tom Davison, Deputy Commander of the Exchange Europe and Southwest Asia. “We want our service members and their families to know we’re looking out for their safety, and that’s why we give them the information they’ll need to be prepared for the hazardous road conditions coming in the next few weeks.”
Commercial winter tires are marked “M+S” or “M&S” on the sidewall to indicate improved mud and snow performance, or contain a “mountain/snowflake pictograph” if they are dedicated winter tires. The tread of such tires are designed to provide improved traction and in winter driving conditions like snow, cold, and icy roads.
In general, winter tires perform substantially better in snow and icy conditions than all-season tires. Winter Tires are designed to deliver safety and control in snow, ice, and cold weather conditions. All-season tires, however, cannot deliver the safety and performance of M&S winter tires even if they are allowed for use on the European ice and snow. These all-season tires are constructed of harder rubber and, because they are designed to accommodate hot-weather durability, don’t have the tread design aspects of winter tires to provide safety on icy pavement conditions.
Anyone caught by German Polizei with summer tires in winter conditions and on icy roads will be fined 40 € and the driver, not the owner, will receive the citation. Also, if traffic is impeded due to unsuitable tires the driver will be fined 80 €. Illegal tires can be easily spotted since they won’t have the M&S labels on the sidewalls. These rules are applicable for all car, truck, bus and motorbike drivers. Also, vehicles that are registered abroad will need to be equipped with the correct tires when driving in Germany. Even more serious, motor vehicle insurance companies have refused settlement payments in case of accidents where the vehicle or vehicles involved were not equipped with the required M&S tires.