Do you know the rules for winter tyres in the UK?

What Are the Rules for Winter Tyres in the UK?

09 June 2015, 12:06

Before deciding which new tyres to get, it is very useful to know which type are already fitted to your car. Your mechanic should be a good source of information about which tyres will be best for you, but which tyres you need will depend entirely on where and when you drive.

In the UK, it is generally recognised that our winters are not severe enough to warrant this legislation; however, there are some parts of the country where winter tyres could be of benefit.

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Winter tyres are completely legal to use in the UK, provided that they comply with health and safety regulations. You must still have more than 2mm of tread and have your tyres inflated to the correct pressure as stated in your handbook. The complications with fitting winter tyres do not come in the legal restrictions, but rather in the policy of your particular insurance provider. Whilst most insurers do understand that winter tyres can have a positive effect on road safety in general, it does not automatically follow that their policy favours those drivers who choose to have them fitted.

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If you live in a remote area of the UK which is affected by adverse weather conditions during the winter months, and you think that winter tyres would be of significant benefit, then there is nothing to stop you legally having them fitted to your vehicle. Just make sure that you check with your insurance provider in case you need to inform them of the alteration that you have made.

Some insurance providers will render your cover invalid if you have an accident and it is found that the vehicle was fitted with winter tyres without having informed them first. To help drivers establish whether or not they need to inform their insurance provider of the change, the Association of British Insurers (AIB) has compiled a list of those providers who do and do not require notification of the change. The list can be found on their website. If you'd like to know more information about rules for snow chains and winter tyres in all of the EU countries, visit

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