This Monday, November 1 comes into force the obligation to be equipped with special devices to be able to drive in certain municipalities located in mountain areas. La Dépêche has reviewed all the questions you may be asking yourself about what changes these new regulations.
After months of preparation, negotiations and explanations, the obligation to have winter equipment to drive with your vehicle in certain municipalities located in mountain areas comes into force on Monday. To find out all about these new regulations, La Dépêche du Midi has answered 13 questions you may be asking yourself about these changes.
What is this law?
It is in fact a decree published in the official journal on October 18, 2020, in application of the “Mountain II” law of December 28, 2016. Its objective is to “continue to improve the safety of road users for the winter period” and to “limit traffic jams on the roads in mountainous regions”. Indeed, by making certain devices mandatory, snowy and slippery roads in mountainous areas in winter should generate fewer accidents and road users stranded in passes.
When does it come into effect?
These new regulations officially come into force on November 1. You therefore risk a control from Monday in the areas concerned.
And it lasts until when?
The obligation will apply in the affected areas until March 31. Every year now, from November 1 to March 31, it will therefore be necessary to ensure that you are equipped with the mandatory devices.
Do I really have to have winter tires?
Not at all. False information has been circulating for several months, suggesting that motorists must equip their cars with winter tires. This is totally wrong.
The law offers the possibility of equipping three types of device, a choice :
Winter tires or “snow tires”. It is the safest solution in terms of road safety as explained Auto Moto. Winter tires are 3PMSF (3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake) approved and marked with the alpine symbol representing a snowflake in a three-peaked mountain. Snow tires are only marked “M + S” (Mud + Snow). Less efficient, the latter will no longer be allowed in mandatory areas from November 1, 2024.
It is also possible to opt for all-season tires, provided they have one of these two markings.
metal snow chains: Inexpensive and practical to store in your trunk, they are a solution intended for occasional use. They are also very effective in very snowy areas. There are different ranges and different qualities which play on their grip capacity as detailed Autoplus.
snow socks: as explained Automobile Magazine, these equipment made of resistant and elastic fabric are compact, reusable and easy to install. However, remember to have gloves, for the cold and for dirt, because you will have to wrap your entire tire during installation. Also plan a bag to store them after use, to avoid dirtying your trunk …
Can I take any chains or socks?
No, you need to choose chains or socks that match the size of your tires.
And do they cost a lot of this equipment?
For winter tires, count around 100 euros per tire, excluding cost of assembly and balancing according to Auto Moto. This therefore represents 400 euros, since it is compulsory to fit all four tires. For snow socks, they cost between 25 and 70 euros on average. Chain side, count from 30 to 100 euros.
But, importantly, the socks and chains are sold in pairs, the law imposing to equip “at least two driving wheels”. However, many specialists recommend fitting all four wheels of your vehicle, in order to improve grip and therefore safety, in the event of heavy snowfall.
Do I have to install this equipment?
No, obviously … For socks and chains, you just need to have them in your possession, in your trunk for example. But in the event of a check, the police may ask you to show them to them. Winter tires must be fitted to the vehicle.
Are all vehicles affected?
Yes, light vehicles are not the only ones affected. As detailed Service-public.fr , coaches, buses and heavy goods vehicles without a trailer or semi-trailer will also be subject to these obligations with the choice between chains or winter tires. Heavy goods vehicles with a trailer or semi-trailer must have snow chains enabling at least two drive wheels to be fitted, even if they are fitted with winter tires.
In which municipalities is it compulsory?
Originally, 48 departments located in mountain areas were concerned. Each prefecture then had to determine the municipalities concerned, after negotiations with local elected officials.
In Occitania, 439 municipalities are concerned. You can browse our interactive map below or use the search engine (next to the magnifying glass) and enter the name of the town or village that interests you.
At the national level, the data is available and all compiled in this interactive map which you can navigate. Most of the municipalities are located in the Alps, the Massif Central and the Jura. Entire departments are thus concerned: Lozère, Puy-de-Dôme, Haute-Loire, Cantal, Savoie, Haute-Savoie and Hautes-Alpes.
I’m just passing through a town concerned … do I still need to be equipped?
Yes, this regulation does not apply only to the inhabitants of the municipalities concerned but to anyone wishing to pass there with their vehicle.
And is it compulsory in the whole of a concerned municipality?
No not necessarily. In many municipalities only certain roads are subject to the obligation. It is advisable to check with the municipality or the prefecture of the department.
How to recognize the roads where it is obligatory?
Two new imaged panels were born with this new rule. The B58 and B59 signs will indicate the areas where equipment becomes compulsory. The B58 represents a snow tire (with the flake logo) and a case of snow chains, overhung by a mountain, in a red frame. It symbolizes entry into a zone concerned, and may be accompanied by the dates of application (from November 1 to March 31) or by the words “Reminder”. The B59 has the same symbols, crossed out with a black line, and indicates the end of the zone concerned by the obligation.
What are the penalties for forgetting?
If you’re not ready yet, don’t panic. Motorists who do not have mountain equipment in the territories concerned will not be penalized this winter. “Motorists who do not have mountain equipment in the territories which will be subject to the Mountain Law II on November 1, will not be penalized for a year”, announced the Ministry of the Interior in a press release. October 2021. “Information and educational operations will accompany the implementation of this device in the coming weeks,” added the government.
The first sanctions will therefore fall in November 2022. In the event of non-compliance, the motorist will be liable to a fourth class fine, i.e. 135 euros, as well as to possible immobilization of his vehicle.