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No More Excuses In Winter Traffic
No More Excuses In Winter Traffic

Video: No More Excuses In Winter Traffic

Video: No More Excuses In Winter Traffic
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The winter regulations apply from this Saturday. The regulations that drivers have to observe during the cold season are listed below.

Von Georg Ismar

Trucks are parked across the freeway, cars slide into the ditch and winter tires are running out from dealers. The winter tire requirement, which was actually planned for October, is delayed. However, it will come into force on this Saturday. "What winter does on our roads can be clearly seen these days," says Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer (CSU). He wants to give the road traffic regulations (StVO) more profile. But whether this will work in all cases is doubtful. How the insurance companies behave in the event of an accident with summer tires depends on the individual case.

What should be considered now?

According to surveys, around 90 percent of motorists have already equipped themselves with winter tires. Anyone who tells the police that the winter tires were sold out everywhere still has to pay. There are no more excuses, emphasizes the Ministry of Transport. The fines are doubled: 40 euros if you are caught by the police with summer tires, 80 euros if this also obstructs traffic. In the second case there is also a point in Flensburg. The regulation applies to all motor vehicles, including motorcycles.

Are there still winter tires available?

Since the Federal Council's decision a week ago, which paved the way for mandatory tires, dealers have experienced a boom in demand. "The warehouses are already relatively empty," says Peter Hülzer, Chairman of the Federal Association of Tire Trade and Vulcanization Crafts. It could be that drivers no longer get tires. Because the industry works counter-cyclically: In the summer, when nobody knew that the obligation was coming, winter tires were produced, summer tires are currently being produced. In the worst case, drivers would have to leave their car in the snow, says Hülzer.

Which car tires are accepted by the legislator?

All M (atsch) + S (chnee) tires are considered winter tires. All-season tires are also included. A tread depth of 1.6 millimeters is prescribed, but the ADAC recommends 4 millimeters. Dealers criticize that there is no EU-wide definition of what exactly a winter tire is. According to ADAC, the "M + S" mark, which is now sufficient, opens the door to cheap goods. Tires are more suitable if they also have the snowflake symbol. It is not allowed to simply pull snow chains over the summer tires. The obligation had become necessary because the Oldenburg Higher Regional Court considered the previous regulation to be too vague, so motorists could challenge fines. The winter tires are compulsory in snow, slush or slippery conditions.

Why do sideways trucks with summer tires cause trouble?

Foreign truck drivers in particular are unaware of the obligation. But according to ADAC, most trucks are already on the road with sufficient all-season tires. However, trucks from Eastern Europe in particular are always noticed with a wicked profile. The cost pressure in the transport industry is high. The police unions emphasize that they cannot now control tire requirements across the board because the staff is at the limit, among other things, because of the terrorist threat. It is criticized that Ramsauer only allowed winter or all-weather tires to be prescribed for the drive axles of trucks. The ADAC considers snow chains for trucks to be the best solution, especially on inclines.

Does the insurance pay for an accident with summer tires in the snow?

That depends on the individual case. According to Maximilian Maurer from the ADAC, insurance in the comprehensive insurance area can refuse payments if a driver with summer tires crashes into the guardrail. This can be rated as «gross negligence». Even if a car with summer tires is given priority, it may well be that the driver concerned is partially blamed. However, Maurer emphasizes that there have been hardly any judgments in this area so far.

What happens in the event of an accident with a rental car with summer tires?

Then the tenant pays, because he has to make sure that the rental company has chosen the right tires. With the new obligation, the driver is generally liable, not the owner. That means: if you only park your car in snow, you cannot be asked to pay.

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