The temperature on the barometer has not come much below plus in December and January is not as cold as we are used to, so not everyone is thinking about snow and winter tyres. But the weather is an unstable friend which could change its weather modd very quickly, so it is advised to get the lorries the right “footgear” and be properly equipped in case of snow and ice. The road hauliers know this and are quick to get the tyres changed into winter tyres on the lorries, but as important is it for the freight forwarders to get the tyres changed on the trailers as well. If the lorry has winter tires, but not the trailer, it is as if wearing winter clothing and flip flips in minus degrees. Top 3 when it comes to road accidents, is lost control over the vehicle, icy roads and speeding in regards to the weather- and road conditions. And in the winter season the missing winter tires are also often a reason.
Are you driving in Norway for example, or other countries famous/infamous for cold winter weather and is the total weight of your vehicle over 3.5 t, then you need to know the exact regulations for winter tyres which applies in Norway for every HGV vehicle. In Europe there is no clear definition of winter tyres, only definition is that “M+S” which means “mud and snow”, has to be printed on the tyre. It is adviseable to get informed, e.g. have a look at the Norwegian road department’s website, vegvesen.no/en. They have a great guide which you can find here.
Trying to save money on winter tyres does not pay off in Norway, as the fees for violation of the regulation are extremely high. According to the Norwegian Road Haulage Association, some tyre manufacturers have tried to find a loophole in the Norwegian regulations by putting the demanded symbols M+S on summer tyres, but the attempts were discovered. In 2015 the definitions were specified more detailed which means that winter tyres have to be marked with M+S, MS, M&S, M-S, «Mud and Snow», 3PMSF or ”3 peak mountain snowflake” AND the tyres have to have been manufactured seperately.
There is no sense in saving money on winter tyres. The lorry and there of the transport has to run on the roads without problems, but moreover, winter tyres are a question about safety. Do not risk lives by going through countries on icy and snowy roads with HGVs which are not properly equipped for this kind of weather. The responsibility does not only apply for the road haulier and the freight forwarder, but also for the lorry driver.