Austria Implements Changes to Driving Regulations

Tue 16th Apr, 2024

Image by Brian Penny from PixabayIn a world where customs vary from one nation to another, it's imperative to acquaint oneself with the specific rules and responsibilities before embarking on a journey abroad, especially for motorists. As of mid-April, Austria will see alterations in its legal framework concerning driving.

One significant change effective from mid-April is the cessation of the mandatory winter tire requirement in Austria. Traditionally enforced from November 1st to April 15th, this regulation mandates vehicles, including cars and trucks weighing up to 3.5 tons, to be equipped with winter tires on all four wheels when driving under wintry road conditions such as snow, slush, or ice. Notably, an alternative provision allows for the use of snow chains on at least two drive wheels, but solely under specific circumstances, namely when the road is continuously covered with snow or ice.

However, come April 15th, this obligation in Austria will cease, marking a departure from the perpetual situational winter tire requirement observed in Germany. In Germany, drivers are subject to fines starting at 60 euros, along with penalty points, for non-compliance, whereas in Austria, fines can extend to 5,000 euros if other road users' safety is compromised.

Nevertheless, the termination of the winter tire requirement in Austria doesn't translate to a carte blanche for using summer tires. Despite recent spells of sunny weather inducing thoughts of summer, a drastic weather shift is anticipated, particularly in Alpine regions like Austria, where heavy snowfall is forecasted for the upcoming week.

The Austrian Automobile, Motorcycle, and Touring Club (ÖAMTC) caution against premature adoption of summer tires due to the erratic April weather. While there's no strict prohibition against switching to summer tires earlier, ÖAMTC advises motorists to monitor weather forecasts diligently and to reserve the transition for sustained periods of warm weather, especially if mountainous trips aren't on the itinerary. Regardless of the calendar date, ÖAMTC emphasizes that summer tires remain unsuitable for wintry road conditions.

Given the prevailing weather conditions, travelers in Austria are advised to retain their winter tires, particularly as temperatures in many regions hover around freezing. Additionally, motorists should exercise heightened vigilance regarding speed limits, as a stringent new speed law has come into effect.

Image by Brian Penny from Pixabay


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