Where in France do you need winter tires or snow chains?

From November 1 and until March 31, people traveling in the mountainous regions of France are required to have their vehicle fitted with winter tires or to have snow chains or “socks” in their trunk.

Read more: Reminder: Winter tire rules applied in the French mountains from November

This rule has been in place since last year, but it’s only this winter that people will face a €135 fine if they don’t comply. However, the government has now announced that no one will be fined until the end of 2022 at the earliest.

“It’s important to give people time to adapt; it is not a repressive measure,” a spokesperson said.

Winter tire requirements can be imposed in 48 different mountainous departments, which can choose to apply the rules to their whole territory, to part of their territory or not at all.

Some 34 departments will apply the requirements to at least part of their territory this year, with 4,170 municipalities and 4,263,400 inhabitants concerned.

The 48 departments in which winter tire rules can be imposed are: Ain, Allier, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Ardèche, Ariège, Aude, Aveyron, Cantal, Côte d’Or, Creuse, Doubs, Drôme, Eure-et-Loir, Gard, Haute-Garonne, Hérault, Isère, Jura, Loire, Haute-Loire, Lot, Lozère, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Nièvre, Puy-de-Dôme, Pyrénées- Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Orientales, Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Rhône, Haute-Saône, Saône-et-Loire, Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Var, Vaucluse, Haute- Vienne, Vosges, Yonne, Territory of Belfort, South Corsica and Haute-Corse.

The 34 departments in which winter tire rules are at least partially imposed are: Ain, Allier, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Ardèche, Ariège, Aude, Aveyron, Bas-Rhin, Cantal, Doubs, Drôme , Haute-Garonne, Haute-Loire, Hautes-Alpes, Haute-Saône, Haute-Savoie, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haut-Rhin, Isère, Jura, Loire, Lozère, Moselle, Puy-de-Dôme, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Pyrenees -Orientales, Rhône, Savoie, Tarn, Territory of Belfort, Var, Vaucluse and Vosges.

The level of coverage of the winter tire rule varies considerably between departments. In Puy-de-Dôme, for example, the requirement will only be in place above 800 m altitude.

No Corsican department will enforce the rules, the prefecture having decided that the measure was not necessary.

To know the exact coordinates of the municipalities in which the rules are in place, you can inquire with your local prefecture.

Drivers will be warned that they are entering a winter tire zone by road signs B58 and B59. Panel B58 shows a mountain above the word “ZONE” and an image of snow chains and winter tires, surrounded by a red border.

Panel B59 shows the same images, but with “ZONE” replaced by “END OF ZONE” and a black line crossed out diagonally.

Winter tire legislation aims to improve driver safety and prevent roadblocks caused by accidents.

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