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How to Prepare for Driving in Europe During the Winter Months

Now that it's officially fall, it's time to prepare yourself for winter. If you're planning a long-term trip to Europe over the next few months (for vacation, business, or other reasons), it's a good idea to prepare yourself for the driving conditions and restrictions in the "Old World" sooner rather than later.

So we'd love to help! After reading this post, you'll know just how to make sure you're prepared for driving in Europe during the winter months. 

General Tips

Before we get into the specific regulations and restrictions you should be aware of, let's start with some general advice for winter driving in Europe. Of course, you're probably aware of most general driving tips for the cold season. Just in case, here is a great resource with some general advice for driving in any area's wintry or cold conditions.

Most if not all of those tips apply to driving in Europe as well. To prepare yourself even better, here's what you can do:

  • Know the countries you'll visit.
  • Understand the terrain in which you'll be driving.
  • Know your car and its winter driving capabilities.

Of course, all of these points require a bit more information. So let's get started!

European Regulations for Winter Driving

Many European countries require winter "M&S" (mud and snow) tires for drivers during the winter months. These countries include:

  • Austria (required between November 1 and April 15)
  • Czech Republic (required to be in your car between November 1 and April 1)
  • Estonia (required between December 1 and March 1)
  • Finland (required between November 1 and March 31)
  • Germany (required between November 1 and April 15)
  • Iceland (required between November 1 and April 14)
  • Italy (required for certain roads and in the Val d'Aosta between October 15 and April 15)
  • Latvia (required between December 1 and March 1 if your vehicle weighs less than 3.5 tons)
  • Lithuania (required between November 10 and April 1)
  • Norway (highly recommended between November 1 and April 15)
  • Romania (required between November 1 and March 31)
  • Serbia (required between October 1 and April 15)
  • Slovenia (required between November 15 and March 15)
  • Sweden (required between December 1 and March 31)

In addition, all countries requiring snow tires during certain months also enforce the same requirements during any type of wintry condition—even when the date falls outside the required dates. 

Many of the countries in the above list also recommend snow chains, which you should carry in your car during your winter trip. 

When driving in a foreign country, whether it's during the winter or otherwise, always be sure to double-check just what regulations you need to follow for the specific region. Austria, for example, not only requires snow tires during the winter months, but some of its towns have additional regulations you should be aware of. This interactive list by the European Commission is a great resource to find out the exact rules and regulations for the countries you'll be visiting. 

Picking the Right Rental Car for Winter Driving

Knowing the exact regulations for the country which you'll be visiting is a crucial first step in preparing yourself for winter driving in Europe. But of course, without the right car, it won't get you far. Fortunately, that's where we come in!

Understanding that visitors to Europe on long-term trips will often require winter-ready vehicles that adhere to all regulations, we offer several of our cars in "grip edition," meaning they are specifically prepared for winter driving.

These cars come equipped with the M&S tires required in many European countries during winter, along with a Peugeot patented Grip Control System which helps with traction in snowy areas. More specifically, these are the GRIP EDITION models we have available for long-term rental:

  • Peugeot 2008 Grip Edition
  • Peugeot 3008 Grip Edition
  • Peugeot Partner Grip Edition

Does your visit to Europe fall into the winter months? If so, make sure you're prepared and ready to take on the snow in the Alps, Pyrenees, Scandinavia, or wherever else your trip may take you. Check out our current fall specials for both short-term and long-term contracts on select vehicles before the end of the year.

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