Compulsory use of winter tyres

Cars and lorries weighing up to 3.5 metric tonnes

Cars and lorries with a maximum permitted total (laden) weight of up to 3.5 t can only be used in wintry conditions  between 1 November and 15 April if winter tyres are fitted to all their wheels. Examples of wintry conditions include snow, sludge or ice on the road.

Alternatively, vehicles can also be used in these conditions if snow chains are fitted to at least two of the driven wheels. However, snow chains should only be fitted if the road is covered in a more or less continuous layer of snow or ice.

Caution

The requirement to fit winter tyres only applies to cars and lorries weighing up to 3.5 t in wintry conditions, and they must only be fitted when the vehicle is actually being driven.

The requirement to fit winter tyres to cars has recently been extended to cover small, four-wheeled vehicles built using an enclosed closed, cabin-like design (also known as microcars).

Lorries over 3.5 t and buses

Lorries with a maximum permitted total (laden) weight of over 3.5 t, and any other motor vehicles based on their design, may only be used between 1 November and 15 April if winter tyres are fitted to all the wheels on at least one of the driven axles.

Buses and other vehicles based on their design may only be used between 1 November and 15 March if winter tyres are fitted to all the wheels on at least one of the driven axles. 

Caution

The requirement to fit winter tyres on buses and lorries weighing over 3.5 t applies at all times, regardless of whether there is snow on the road or not.

The following categories of vehicles are exempt from this requirement:

  • vehicles belonging to law-enforcement authorities, the armed forces or the fire brigade which, as a result of their design or primary intended purpose, cannot be fitted with winter tyres, or where no benefit would be derived from doing so.
  • vehicles that are fitted with special-purpose tyres as a result of their design or primary purpose.
  • vehicles that are designed to perform a specific purpose that means they will only be used when the roads are free of snow and ice (this applies to vehicles used by sewer-clearing companies, which only operate in the immediate vicinity of the sewers.
  • vehicles on test drives or being transferred to new owners.

For a tyre to qualify as a winter tyreit must carry the labels "M+S", "M.S." or "M&S", or a snowflake symbol (which may appear with or without the other labels). Accordingly, all-weather and all-year-round tyres are only suitable for use as winter tyres if they carry one of these labels.
Special tyres only qualify as winter tyres if they carry the labels "ET", "ML" or "MPT".

For information on the requirement to carry snow chains, go to oesterreich.gv.at.

Minimum tread depths

For full details of minimum permitted tread depths, go to oesterreich.gv.at.

Legal basis

Certified Translation
Last update: 1 January 2022

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology