Winter Tires


This post was originally published on October 31, 2012. We’re pulling it out of the archives for all of you – especially our newer readers – to help you out this fall!

Von O bis O” or “From October to Ostern (Easter).” Sound familiar? Now what is that supposed to remind us of? Only eat mussels and oysters… when is that… oh yeah, in months that end in “R.” Red sky in morning, sailors… no, that can’t be it. Knee-high by the Fourth of July, nope, that’s not helpful either. So just what is it we are supposed to do from O to O?

Have winter tires on our cars! Maybe you remember from when you took the USAREUR drivers test. Maybe you remember from last year. Maybe you don’t remember, but it is the law. When the driving conditions are winter-like your tires should be winter-ready, even if it’s outside of the O to O window.

If that doesn’t make you take notice, try this: if you are in an accident, even one that is not your fault, and your car doesn’t have adequate tires for the weather, you could be held responsible. That might mean a fine, an increase in insurance premiums, or even cancellation of your drivers insurance. Even if you don’t cause an accident, but are caught you can be fined. Yikes!

Photo Credit ASAG Ansbach

So go check your tires. Do they have a snowflake symbol or an “M+S” (Matsch + Schnee or Mud + Snow)? Then you are good to go! If they have a symbol that looks like three mountain peaks you are even better off.

While you are at it, check the tire depth. By law, you need at least 1.6 millimeters depth, but at least 4 is recommended. Don’t have a ruler handy? Take a one euro coin and check the depth. If you can see the gold rim when the coin is inserted into the tread, you should start finding replacements.

It is possible to order tires online. One popular choice is because they will ship to APO/FPO boxes and will, for an extra fee, ship priority. We all know that it can still take longer than anticipated to get to our boxes, so order early!

A few other points: You are responsible for checking the tires on a rental car. A few places require snow chains for your tires in especially hazardous conditions and signs will mark these areas. Studded tires are not allowed.
So this “von October bis Ostern” remember to have the correct tires on your car! It can save you some trouble, some euro, or maybe even from an accident! A-Ha!

(Click photos for source)

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