New French law coming into effect: France starts regulating winter driving in mountain areas

New regulation

NEW REGULATION: With effect from 1st of November until 31st of March, it will be compulsory to equip vehicles with 4 or more wheels, with winter tyres or snow chains/socks in specific locations in France. 

During this current year, a new regulation has been introduced in France regarding the transit of all types of vehicles with four or more wheels at specific zones in the French mountains.  

What is the exact purpose of this new measure?  

  • Increasing the safety of all drivers passing through these snowy and icy roads.  
  • Avoiding traffic congestion in these areas, which could arise due to driving without the necessary equipment or due to the accidents caused by it. 

What does this new regulation entail, for which period of time and which areas are affected?  

Effective from 2021 onwards, during the winter period (from 1st of November until 31st of March each year), it will be compulsory to carry snow chains/socks or winter tyres in your vehicle when driving in the following areas: Alps, Corsica, Massif Central, Jura Massif, Pyrenees, and Vosges Massif.   

Are the following areas signposted?  

Yes, the affected areas have a new traffic sign at both the entrance and the exit, indicating to drivers that having the proper equipment is compulsory for transits through these areas.  

What do I need if I am to drive in one of the affected areas?  

You should have one of the following materials on board of your vehicle:  

  • Removable anti-skid devices: you can choose between metal chains or textile chains/snow socks. As a minimum, at least two need to be fitted to the drive wheels.  
  • Winter tyres: with the selection of ¨3PMSF¨ (3 Peak Mountain Snowflake) which can differ by the presence of an alpine symbol or one of the following markings: M+S / MS / M&S.  

Vehicles with studded tyres would be exempt from this obligation. 

IMPORTANT: The use of other winter tires will remain possible until 1st of November 2024,  however, vehicles will still need to be fitted with chains.  

Different options available, depending on the type of vehicle. 

Cars and light commercial vehicles. 

  • Having two removable anti-skid devices.  
  • Equipping the vehicle with 4 winter tyres.  

 

Buses and coach cars. 

  • Having two removable anti-skid devices. 
  • Equipping the vehicle with at least 4 winter tyres: two on the steered wheels and two on the driven wheels.  

Trucks and large goods vehicles. 

In case of driving without a trailer or a semi-trailer: 

  • Having two removable anti-skid devices.
  • Equipping the vehicle with at least 4 winter tyres: two on the steered wheels and two on the driven wheels.  

In case of driving with a trailer or a semi-trailer:  

  • Having removable anti-skid equipment.

You can find more information on the official French government website via this link.