Many drivers feel a bit uncomfortable when they have to drive in a temporary rental car, certainly when abroad. Every car responds differently on the road, of course, and in the winter, you also have to deal with wet leaves, rain, frost, snow and ice. If you are going on the road with a rental car this winter, be sure to ask your car rental dealer if winter tyres are an option. Winter tyres give your car better grip, a better hold on the road and a shorter braking distance. What’s more, in many European countries, driving with winter tyres is mandatory during the winter months.
The rules vary per country
Even though the countries of the EU are striving for uniform social laws and regulations, the rules for having winter tyres still vary per country. It almost seems like many EU countries are doing their very best to make it as complicated as possible for international drivers. Winter tyres are, for example, required in some countries but not in others or they may be required in some countries only during winter weather conditions or when instructional road signs have been placed along the roads. To make matters even more complicated, the required minimal tread is 2mm in one country and up to 5mm in others. All-season tyres are considered winter tyres in almost every country. The exact duration of the winter tyre season is another point of contention. In many countries, the start of the winter period is 1 November, but in others, it starts 2 or even 4 weeks later.
The rules in practice
All of these different rules can result in some rather odd situations. Imagine: you are driving south from Amsterdam to Rome on 4 April. On this date, winter tyres are not required in the Netherlands and in Belgium, they may even be prohibited. So, you shouldn’t use winter tyres, right? Wrong, because when you drive through France, you may encounter road signs that make winter tyres mandatory. And then you arrive in Italy. In Italy, the rules vary per region and sometimes even depend on which roads you use!
So, should you rent a car with or without winter tyres?
Many car rental companies offer winter tyres as an extra option at a reasonable price. Your travel destination largely determines whether you need winter tyres or not. If you are unsure about which rules apply to your holiday destination, please feel free to contact us anytime!