To cross mountainous regions or take a snowy road, it is essential to equip your car accordingly. The question of how many snow tires to install on your vehicle then arises, especially since new legislation has just come into force.
SNOW TIRES, A LEGAL OBLIGATION
In order to make driving easier and increase safety in French mountainous regions, a new law was introduced in winter 2021. Mountain II law requires drivers to wear equipment enabling them to drive on snow-covered terrain, whether snow tires, snow chains or approved snow socks.
A list of municipalities where this equipment is compulsory has been made public. It concerns the towns of 48 departments located in the mountains, in the Alps, in Corsica, in the Massif Central, the Jura Massif, the Pyrenees or the Vosges Massif. This equipment is now mandatory every year between November 1 and March 31.
For greater efficiency, new signage will gradually be put in place, precisely identifying the entrances and exits to mountain areas where winter equipment must be used. From 2021 to 2024, the name “winter tire” will be used to identify authorized models.
CAN YOU DRIVE IN WINTER WITH ONLY 2 SNOW TIRES?
This legitimate question can be answered immediately: no, it is not possible to equip your vehicle with winter tires on its 2 drive wheels only. The law specifies that access to mountain areas during winter is only authorized if a car has 4 snow tires.
By installing them only at the front, the rear axle of the vehicle will be likely to skid on snow or ice. Uncontrolled skidding will occur at the slightest acceleration, with significant risks of leaving the road.
Deciding to install winter tires only on the rear of your vehicle is just as dangerous. The loss of grip at the front will cause handling and braking difficulties on the vehicle, due to the imbalance between the front and rear axles.
ESSENTIAL SAFETY MEASURES
With the Mountain II law, motorists will have to equip themselves with either snow tires, metal snow chains or textiles suitable for grip on slippery terrain. For added safety, other measures may be recommended. Always remember to find out about the weather conditions before taking the road in the mountains.
Don't wait until the last minute to change your tires. When temperatures drop below 7°C, you can replace them with winter equipment to gain grip. On average, snow tires save you 30 meters in braking distance (at a speed of 50 km/h) compared to conventional tires.
Driving on snow therefore requires compliance with strict safety rules. If snow chains and winter tires are often used by motorists, other solutions are possible. The Musher approved snow sock can also be used for this purpose. The fruits of a unique technology, the Musher over-tyres can replace chains and winter tires, with very easy installation in less than 5 minutes and possible use also on dry asphalt. Completely legal, this equipment constitutes a safe and practical alternative if you live in a department covered by the Mountain II law.