Winter tires are compulsory in Austria starting November 2022

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Even if it is still autumn-mild and the winter tire obligation only applies from November, it is advisable to book an appointment for the tire change already.

“If there is a sudden onset of winter, garages are booked up for weeks. In addition, it can be sensitively cold at night or higher altitudes even in October, in which case you have a clear advantage with winter tires,” says ÖAMTC technician Steffan Kerbl. Because even if it may not yet be snowing, morning frost, for example, can make for slippery roads even in lowlands.

The “M+S” and a snowflake marking can recognize legally compliant winter tires. But that’s not enough, according to the ÖAMTC expert. “By law, the tread depth must be at least four millimeters throughout the winter, i.e., depending on mileage, it should still be about six millimeters when changing tires,” says Kerbl. “The rubber compound hardens over time, so after about five seasons, you should consider new tires. Likewise, if cracks or other damage are visible – an investment in safety that pays off in any case.”

If the vehicle has tire pressure sensors installed in the rims, one should ensure that the edges of the winter tires also have corresponding sensors.

In addition to the tires, the car itself should also undergo a winter check. Kerbl: “Batteries with poor age are the most common cause of breakdowns. So if the battery is more than four years old or is only used for short journeys, a check should be carried out in any case before the cold season. But the frost resistance of the windshield washer system and cooling system should also be checked now.”

Winter tires are also available for two-wheelers – for mopeds, for example, but also bicycles. “Anyone who rides a moped around town in the winter or wants to be sporty on a bike even in the cold season should also think about buying winter tires for safety’s sake. Due to the rubber compound and the profile, these have advantages over normal tires,” says the ÖAMTC technician.

Those who do not keep to the winter tire obligation or with worn tires on the way must count on an administrative penalty (organ mandate at a value of approximately 50 euros). If incorrect tires endanger other road users, the sentence theoretically reaches 5,000 euros. If an accident occurs and you have mounted summer tires on a wintry road, you have to reckon with further inconveniences in addition to the consequences of the accident.

For example, although the liability insurance company must compensate the injured party for the damage, the comprehensive insurance company can refuse to pay the car owner for “gross negligence.” “If you are at fault for an accident with personal injury due to improperly fitted tires – partial fault is sufficient here – you must also reckon with prosecution by the public prosecutor’s office,” explains ÖAMTC lawyer Alexander Letziki.

  • source: heute.at/picture:pixabay.com
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