Laurent Sanson is an automotive and sports journalist-photographer, notably at Auto-Mag-info.
He is well acquainted with the issues of mountain driving since he performs automobile tests every year in our resort.
To help you understand the new french law that will come into force this winter, read this article he wrote just for us.
From November 1, 2021 and until March 31 of each year, it is now compulsory to equip your vehicle with winter tires or to have snow chains or socks, in certain municipalities in the mountain ranges of the Alps, Corsica , the Pyrenees and the Central Massifs, the Jura and the Vosges. Update a few weeks before the entry into force of the Mountain Law II.
The objective of these new regulations is to enhance user safety by reducing the specific risks associated with driving on snowy or icy roads. It is also a question of avoiding situations of blockage in mountainous regions, when unequipped vehicles find themselves across the tracks, unable to free themselves, immobilizing an entire axis of traffic. All vehicles with 4 or more wheels are affected by this new regulation, namely light vehicles, utility vehicles, buses and heavy goods vehicles. This obligation currently exists in certain European countries, including our neighbors in Germany and Luxembourg.
To date, 48 departments - see the list below - are affected by this obligation, but the Prefects will have the last word, locally, on whether or not this regulation is applied. Suffice to say that there is a strong risk that there will be a certain misunderstanding and hesitation from this November 1st.
Here is the list of the 48 French departments affected by this new regulation which requires the use of winter tires or equipment such as snow chains or socks. Depending on the department, the regulations apply to a few municipalities or the entire department.
01 - Ain / 03 - Allier / 04 - Alpes-de-Haute-Provence / 05 - Hautes-Alpes / 06 - Alpes-Maritimes / 07 - Ardèche / 09 - Ariège / 11 - Aude / 12 - Aveyron / 15 - Cantal / 19 - Corrèze / 2A - Corse-du-Sud / 2B - Haute-Corse / 21 - Côte-d'Or / 23 - Creuse / 25 - Doubs / 26 - Drôme / 30 - Gard / 31 - Haute-Garonne / 34 - Hérault / 38 - Isère / 39 - Jura / 42 - Loire / 43 - Haute-Loire / 46 - Lot / 48 - Lozère / 54 - Meurthe-et-Moselle / 57 - Moselle / 58 - Nièvre / 63 - Puy-de- Dôme / 64 - Pyrénées-Atlantiques / 65 - Hautes-Pyrénées / 66 - Pyrénées-Orientales / 67 - Bas-Rhin / 68 - Haut-Rhin / 69 - Rhône / 70 - Haute-Saône / 71 - Saône-et-Loire / 73 - Savoie / 74 - Haute-Savoie / 81 - Tarn / 82 - Tarn-et-Garonne / 83 - Var / 84 - Vaucluse / 87 - Haute-Vienne / 88 - Vosges / 89 - Yonne / 90 - Territoire de Belfort
New signs will appear in the 48 departments concerned and will inform you of entry into a zone with compulsory equipment. In the absence of snow or ice, removable devices (chains or snow socks) are kept on board the vehicle.
You will need to either have removable non-slip devices (chains and socks), or equip your vehicle with winter tires. The regulations make it possible to choose between metal chains and "textile chains" commonly called "snow socks". At least two are needed to equip the driving wheels.
Chains or socks must be stored on board the vehicle, and ready to use, as soon as the journey takes an axis in the areas affected by the new regulations.
Winter tires, within the meaning of the decree, are tires under the designation “3PMSF” (3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake), identifiable by the presence of the “alpine symbol” marking and one of the “M + S” markings ”,“ MS ”or“ M&S ”. Until November 1, 2024, snow tires only marked "M + S" will be tolerated.
4-season tires (4S, All Weather, All Season) do not have a regulatory definition: to be considered as winter tires, they must be stamped "3PMSF", or at least "M + S" for the period. transitional of the first 3 years of application of the new regulations. Vehicles with studded tires are exempt from equipment obligations.
From November 1, 2024, only winter tires marked 3PMSF will be accepted as chain equivalents.
Finally, the good news is that there will be no sanction during this first year of application between November 1 and 2021 and March 31, 2022.
Photos © Laurent SANSON / auto-mag.fr