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Driving from UK to Poland in Christmas Time - winter tyres?


marioff
23 Oct 2012 #1
Hi,

I am driving to Poland for two weeks in Christmas time, and I won't be using my car while I am there, but I am now curious what is the actual law in terms of wearing winter tyres, I have checked couple of online guides and apparently you have to have winter tyres when you drive through Germany, but this only affects wintry conditions, and yes what does it mean? I will be traveling only on their motorways / autobahns and I take the motorways are pretty much in good condition through out the year anyway. So my question is what if my car will have only summer tyres (3 months old) and I will keep the tyre chains in the boot for extreme conditions, will I have any trouble with it? I don't really want to change all my tyres and then change them again when I'm back in the UK. Do you have any experience with it?
Richfilth 6 | 415
23 Oct 2012 #2
tyre chains are outright illegal unless you're in the severest grips of a blizzard; you don't use them at speeds over 30km/h.

Depending on which particular tyre you have, just be sensible. Proper Summer tyres are completely inappropriate for the slush, ice and freezing temperatures of Poland in December/January, and while all-season tyres are a compromise, they're really not good enough for motorway speeds, especially if you find yourself in a hard-braking situation.

Don't presume anything about Poland's road infrastructure. Even though the motorways are new, the agencies running them are so feckless that the backstreets are cleared of snow long before the motorways are, so plan accordingly and pack food, water and some blankets just in case of a bad weather situation; this applies to Germany as well. I was stuck solid for 7 hours during a blizzard near Hannover in 2010, on Dec 23rd, and that's an adventure I don't ever want to repeat.

What car will you be driving?
johnb121 4 | 184
23 Oct 2012 #3
Every year more Brits are realising the sense of buying winter tyres and deals are around, especially for wheels/tyres and storage. On 31.3.12 we had a foot of snow. here in Nowy Sacz, but with 4wd and winter tyres we were fine. But even small 4wds were struggling.

Assume nothing about roads and driving standards in Poland. You need to keep your wits about you, your attention on the road, and to be aware of things like left-turns, zebra crossings, cross roads and horse-drawn carts ON THE MOTORWAY!

And yes - blanket, food, water, torches ....
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
23 Oct 2012 #4
and horse-drawn carts ON THE MOTORWAY!

Riiiight.

I've driven nearly 50k in Poland and never seen a single horse drawn cart anywhere near a main road, let alone a motorway.
Harry
23 Oct 2012 #5
We must be driving in very different main roads: I see a horse-drawn cart on pretty much every road trip I take (although I have never seen one on a motorway).
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
23 Oct 2012 #6
Could be, I never drive on main roads in Eastern Poland ;)

I've seen some on minor roads, of course.
poland_
23 Oct 2012 #7
The law in Germany is they can stop you and fine you if you do not have winter tires on, furthermore in the event of an accident you are 100% responsible. Summer tyres are not suitable for temps below 7 c. Here is a link for long term weather forecasts in poland:

accuweather.com/en/pl/warsaw/274663/month/274663?monyr=12/01/2012

It is recommended by the AA to put winter tyres on your car when leaving for long journeys in mainland Europe during the winter.

Safe journey.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
23 Oct 2012 #8
The law in Germany actually specifically requires the symbols on the tyres - I think it's a snowflake symbol? But as for what this means - I understand it to mean driving in snow - a cleared road is not considered to be winter conditions. Could be wrong, though.

I got the shock of my life two years ago in Germany - the roads were clear in Poland, crossed the border and found a complete disaster. One lane of the A12 from Frankfurt-Oder to the Berliner Ring was blocked with snow (the then-dual carriageway from Rzepin to Swiecko was completely clear) - and one of the lanes of the Berliner Ring was also blocked with snow. Then - within Berlin - many of the roads were thick with snow.

So my question is what if my car will have only summer tyres (3 months old) and I will keep the tyre chains in the boot for extreme conditions, will I have any trouble with it?

I really wouldn't go driving in summer tyres in winter in Poland or Germany - temperatures can drop very very suddenly. But it does depend what kind of tyres they are - most tyres in the UK are all-season tyres and will be fine if you don't do anything stupid.
OP marioff
23 Oct 2012 #9
Thanks guys for all the positive answers, and I am now really convinced to buy the winter tyres, even if it is not going to snow. In the end of the day, this will be just one off cost, but it is much safer!

I will be driving Mondeo mk3 with 3 passengers and fully packed boot, and the long-term forecast does not look promising at the moment, so there is nothing to loose
LEICA 4 | 18
23 Oct 2012 #10
Before leaving the UK don't forget to check your radiator and windscreen washer are around the minus 30c mark.Also keep the fuel tank as full as possible in case you get stuck so you will still have heat from the heater.I have done this trip many many times and the worst was sheet ice in Poland stranded for eight hours.

Have a safe journey
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
23 Oct 2012 #11
Thanks guys for all the positive answers, and I am now really convinced to buy the winter tyres, even if it is not going to snow. In the end of the day, this will be just one off cost, but it is much safer!

Well - do what I say first and check your existing tyres for their suitability in wintry conditions. It depends where you're going in Poland - if you're planning to go somewhere like Poznan, Lodz, Wroclaw or Katowice where it's main roads the entire way, you'll get by fine on all-weather tyres.
MoOli 9 | 483
24 Oct 2012 #12
The law in Germany is they can stop you and fine you

How about if you are driving with allseason tyres?
rybnik 18 | 1,462
24 Oct 2012 #13
if you're planning to go somewhere like Poznan, Lodz, Wroclaw or Katowice where it's main roads the entire way, you'll get by fine on all-weather tyres.

Agreed! During my time we had only one light winter and I did just fine with regular tires.

.I have done this trip many many times and the worst was sheet ice in Poland stranded for eight hours.

they don't salt/sand the roads?????
OP marioff
24 Oct 2012 #14
Well...I don't want buy all season tyres, I have heard they are not good at all. I will stick to winter tyres but they seem to be more expensive that normal ones, is it worth to buy part worn tyres? or go for new ones and hope they will last for longer? The decent tyres like Dunlop Winter Sport 3D cost around 90-100 each whereas set of four used tyres can get for about 200.
Richfilth 6 | 415
24 Oct 2012 #15
try the online website Oponeo. It's a Polish company that now sells in the UK, and their prices are significantly cheaper.

Part-worn tyres are only worth it if a) you know where they came from and b) you know how to check whether they're good. Otherwise it's massive false economy.
poland_
24 Oct 2012 #16
whereas set of four used tyres can get for about 200.

Do I need to inform my insurance company that I have winter tyres?
Some insurance companies require notification that winter tyres are fitted to a car or van. Please contact your insurer for more information.

kwik-fit.com/winter-tyres-faq.asp
Orpheus - | 114
24 Oct 2012 #17
Keeping your fingers crossed on Polish roads in winter is not wise.

The decent tyres like Dunlop Winter Sport 3D cost around 90-100 each

So, 400PLN. You probably couldn't fill up your car twice for that. Don't pinch pennies when it comes to road safety. btw Forget about chains.
Harry
24 Oct 2012 #18
try the online website Oponeo.

He should be able to get a set of four decent(ish) winter tyres there for £200, surely?
Richfilth 6 | 415
24 Oct 2012 #19
Not really. Cheapest brand I can think of is Falken, and even then it's nearly 60 quid a corner. Decent winter tyres like Vredestein Snowtrac 3 or Goodyear Ultragrip 8* are 90 quid each. But well worth the investment, since they're good for six years.

*a recent recommendation from another forum user
Harry
24 Oct 2012 #20
Really? I'm just looking now and can see Goodyear Ultra Grip 8 185/60 R15 88 T for 265zl a throw. I might have to get myself a set (my winter tyres have only done four winters but they have spent the last two winters untouched in my basement, dry and out of sunlight, but I fear that they might well be shot now.

Hmm, they also have Nokian WR D3 185/65 R15 92 T for 259 and I hear very good things about those.
OP marioff
24 Oct 2012 #21
Harry

Decent winter tyres like Vredestein Snowtrac 3 or Goodyear Ultragrip 8* are 90 quid each

They look promising, but I think this website (oponeo) does not offer fitting. I have also found all season tyres with quite good reviews in a reasonable price - Bridgestone A001, what do you think about them? I could not find any wrong comment but I was always told that all season tyres use more fuel and they are actually worse in summer than summer tyres, is that true?
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
24 Oct 2012 #22
but I was always told that all season tyres use more fuel and they are actually worse in summer than summer tyres, is that true?

Can only speak for my own - it's not true. I found that I use more fuel because of the conditions (running the heater, driving slower, etc) than because of the tyres themselves. They are worse in summer than dedicated summer tyres, but how often do you get the kind of conditions in the UK where summer tyres come into their own? I notice the difference in Poland, but that's only because Poland has really hot summers.
Richfilth 6 | 415
24 Oct 2012 #23
I'm just looking now and can see Goodyear Ultra Grip 8 185/60 R15 88 T for 265zl a throw.

Mondeo Mk III tyre is a 205/55R16, which is what bumps the price up. And I was checking the UK website, not the PL version, so I have no idea if there's a saving to be made by playing the currencies.

Nokian summer tyres get good reviews, but I know nothing about their winter models. As for all-year tyres, they'll always be the worst of both. Not enough grip in the winter, too fast-wearing in the summer, loud road noise all year round; a pointless compromise.
Harry
24 Oct 2012 #24
Nokian summer tyres get good reviews, but I know nothing about their winter models.

You'd imagine that Nokian would know more than a little about winter tyres, given where they are. But then a lot of Finns like to go round corners in the winter sideways, so maybe not.

As for all-year tyres, they'll always be the worst of both. Not enough grip in the winter, too fast-wearing in the summer, loud road noise all year round; a pointless compromise.

They really are not worth getting.
Dreadnought 1 | 143
27 Jan 2013 #25
I just read the bit about how much £££ a corner this and that tyres are.......I was really wondering how much a corner is the loss of a leg or arms or spinal cord?? I daresay an agonising death in a burning car is a bit expensive, not to say traumatic as well. But enough of this frivolity.....I live in the 'Pod' and drive a UAZ 469b on Russian snow tyres all year round so what do I know? UAZ = no airbags, steering column through your chest....etc etc...madness!!!! (come the to the 'Pod' see men ploughing using horses....see even poorer men ploughing using their sons to pull the plough!!! this is Poland...but Raw and honest.
AgataDas
15 Nov 2016 #26
Hi, this is the first time we will be driving to Poland. I am not Polish but my wife is. We will be starting from UK on 22nd December and back in the first week of January. we have a Honda CR-V, couple of years old with almost new UK tyres (Michelin). I have been told by a friend that it is regulation in Germany that I MUST have WINTER TYRES fitted or else, my car might get pounded and I will be forced to change the tyres there. Is this true? And can I fit my vehicle with CROSS CLIMATE/ALL SEASON tyres instead as I am worried that the winter tyres will be a waste after our journey.
dolnoslask 5 | 2,915
15 Nov 2016 #27
MUST have WINTER TYRES

If in Germany you will be fined if you get stuck in the snow without winter tyres, In Poland it is not mandatory to have winter tyres.

I would not do the trip without winter tyres at that time of the year, they are not just for snow they greatly improve your stopping distances when the temperature is below 7c, especially in the wet.

Don't bother with all season tyres they do not compare to full winters, I use winter continental.

You can get an old set of rims and fit winter tyres to them, then it is easy to switch over in the summer, even in the UK you will be amazed how well these tyres operate in icy and snowy conditions.

Many poles don't bother changing from winters they run them all year round, very good in the mud.
Looker - | 1,052
15 Nov 2016 #28
I live in the KrkonoŇ°e area of Poland and drive on a good all-year tires without any problems so far. Although the car is 4x4 and I recommend such type of vehicle during Polish winters in mountains.
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
15 Nov 2016 #29
And can I fit my vehicle with CROSS CLIMATE/ALL SEASON tyres instead as I am worried that the winter tyres will be a waste after our journey.

Set of winter tyres is always cheaper than body shop bill ;)
dolnoslask 5 | 2,915
15 Nov 2016 #30
More than bodyshop bill , it's his family at stake, AgataDas I have made the same trip many times and I have a place in Austria which requires snow tyres, where I am in lower Silesia it's Ice that is the biggest problem, that's where the winters come into play.

Do what I did look on Ebay, plenty of people have bought winters as a one off and sell them cheap after use, just make sure you have 4 mm minimum and the year stamp is no older than five years, you can always put em back on ebay on your return.

All being said the long term forecast is for a mild winter, so you might be ok, who knows.

After experiencing my 3 ton 4x4 4 matic with every electronic gizmo known to man go sideways towards a ditch while driving at a snails pace with all season tyres on I will be sticking to full on winters.


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