From October to Easter: that's the rule of thumb for winter tyres at our latitudes. Winter tyres protect drivers from skidding on snow-covered or icy roads and reduce collisions with other vehicles during this period. But this rule should be interpreted flexibly, because cold snaps are also possible after Easter, and anyone driving in the mountains should always pay attention to the weather conditions regardless.
Summer tyres contain less natural rubber and become stiffer in colder conditions. They lose grip and can therefore spin when the car starts off or skid when braking. So it's advisable to switch to winter tyres when temperatures drop below 8°C – even if there's no snow. On snow-covered roads, the shallow tread pattern of summer tyres compacts the snow, making the roadway slicker and more dangerous. The deep grooves in the tread of winter tyres, on the other hand, pick up snow and slush, giving better traction. Bear this in mind when choosing the right type of tyres.
You've made an appointment to change your tyres but winter comes early. Will the insurance company pay for any damage if you have an accident driving on icy or snow-covered roads with summer tyres?
In general, comprehensive vehicle insurance covers damage to your own vehicle in the event of an accident. However, depending on the circumstances of the accident and the condition of the vehicle – including the type of tyres – your conduct may be considered grossly negligent. In this case, you will have to pay for part of the damage, unless you have concluded additional insurance for gross negligence as part of your motor vehicle insurance. If you do not have this supplement, the insurance company may reduce or reject your benefits from the comprehensive vehicle insurance entirely after assessing the specific facts. Motor vehicle liability insurance covers the costs of any damage to a third-party vehicle. However, in the event of gross negligence, the insurance company will take recourse against you and charge you for some of the costs. One thing is clear: it's not worth taking this financial risk.