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Going around with car this winter !

by Northlander Online Now Dec 8, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Hi all.
My girlfriend is going to study 3 months, from Jan. 09 til late April 09, at the Uni in Dijon.
Luckily enough, I'm able to go with her.
To be abel to drive around in the region, we plan to take the car. (I know it going to be a long journey trough Scandinavia and Germany.)
What I would like to know, is what the road conditions are like in central Europe in winter/spring ?? (Like if it's icy, slippery, bare roads etc)
We would also love to visit Geneve and northern Italy. How about the drive there ?
In Norway, we have two types of tires. Summer and winter (With spikes)
I need to change from winter to summer tires in Denmark, since spikes is not allowed in Germany. Should I bring the winter tires to France, or just leave them at friends in Denmark ?

I hope somebody can give me a clue.

Take care,
Northy

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4 Answers
  • Re: Going around with car this winter !

    by Sarastro Online Now Dec 8, 2008 at 11:38 AM

    You will not need studded tires for driving around Burgundy.

    There may be times when they might be an asset if you were to travel through higher, mountainous elevations in France but there may be French restrictions on their use. Chains may be more appropriate for harsher meteorological conditions.

    I could not comment about Switzerland or Italy.

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  • Re: Going around with car this winter !

    by LaurensC Online Now Dec 8, 2008 at 2:06 PM

    I would leave them in Denmark. You will need your space for your luggage,the roads are snowfree for about all winter ( normally )

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    Re: Going around with car this winter !

    by Kakapo2 Online Now Dec 9, 2008 at 11:29 AM

    If you want to drive in Switzerland and Northern Italy you cannot do this with summer tyres. In Germany, for example, the people also use special winter tyres although spikes are not allowed anymore. The rubber and the profile are very different to summer tyres, and are quite good in wintery road conditions, although they will never reach the safety of the good old spikes.

    As Sarastro said, there is no need to have winter tyres in Burgundy.

    Not sure what to recommend you. First, I do not know the laws about spikes in France, Switzerland and Italy. (As they were not allowed in Germany I never bothered to enquire when travelling to those countries.) Second, snow chains are only good in... snow. They do not help on cleared roads with a thin snow layer left, and would be plain dangerous on ice. The only tyres which help you there if you cannot use spikes are specific winter tyres... In Germany there have always been discussions about fining people who hold up the traffic in winter by driving with summer tyres.

    I am sure somebody here knows about the spikes laws in those other countries you plan to visit.

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  • angiebabe's Profile Photo

    Re: Going around with car this winter !

    by angiebabe Online Now Dec 9, 2008 at 11:46 AM

    Hi,j Ive enjoyed driving quite frequently around Europe in winter (rental cars) - and ended up in really snowy conditions and been fine with what are issued as 'winter tyres - in Switzerland winter tyres are compulsory from certain dates - I think its the end of November but check until when - and Germany has just become compulsory. Ive never seen spiked typres being necessary unless you were living or working in the mountain areas/trying to travel mountain passes etc which can end up with heavy snow.

    It is not compulsory in Italy to have winter tyres in winter and people dont at all seem to worry! though I was rather worried when driving around Lake Garda on snowy roads after a big early snowfall over night but like the locals (who were telling me no problems to not have snow tyres! and I did see a number of snow ploughs out on the roads to clear the roads earlier) it was fine as the roads are not very hilly and the snow did not extend over too far an area. (and I was heading out of the area anyway).

    If you are driving from January then I would set off with winter tyres of couse already on your car - but not spiked ones obviously - unspiked winter tyres from Denmark - and if youre going to be driving back in April well you might find them still handy to be on for any late snow falls - especially heading back through the more northern parts of Italy etc.

    But no we have not needed spikes or had the options of spiked tyres.

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