Estonia has introduced a new law regulating winter tires, where winter tyres need to be approved for winter conditions and have the three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol. The M+S is not enough for winter conditions as there are is a need for good handling on slush and sleet too. Estonia experiences real winters during the winter season, so real winter tyres are definitely needed for safe driving. This is why many in Estonia welcome this change in legislation. Estonia is a small country with only 1.3 million people as its population, but they have been in the forefront when it comes to making it a modern country.
They will introduced this in Estonia in 2022 in December, to ensure that people who have just purchased winter tyres without 3PMSF symbol will still be able to get 3 years of use out of those tyres before they are forced to switch to tyres that have the 3PMSF approved symbol on the sidewall of the tyre. This should improve road safety and put them in par with several other countries in Europe that have already gone down the same road and have legislation in place that makes drivers change into winter approved tyres during the winter season.
In Estonia both studded and non-studded tyres are allowed, so the choice is left up to the drivers to choose the tyres they feel are most optimal for their driving conditions. During the period from December 1st until end of March winter tyres should be used. The remaining period drivers should use summer tyres, so you need a bi-annual change of tyres. This will however give you optimal and safe driving experience throughout the year.
of tyres might feel like a hassle, but it does give you the best safety and
driving performance. You will have the best possible grip during the winter and
you don’t have to worry about driving on snow and ice. When the winter ends,
you change to summer tyres again and have optimal grip and control on the
summer roads. This way you will be safe during a thunderstorm and when you have
very heavy rain, as good high quality summer tyres will be effective in
preventing aquaplaning on wet roads.
Staying safe while driving is a combination of a few things: having a safe car, having good quality winter tyres and driving safely. The first one can be difficult to change if you already have made your decision and you have purchased a car. The second one is very important and you need to make sure that you have a good tyre that is tested and approved for winter conditions. All the winter tyres that are tested and approved will have a symbol of a three-peak mountain with a snowflake inside it, commonly referred to as the 3PMSF symbol. If your tyres don’t have this symbol you shouldn’t be driving in winter conditions. It is that easy. You need to immediately get proper tyres if you want to drive in winter weather.
The choice of what tyre to select will
depend on where you live and what weather you tend to experience throughout the
year. You can basically categorize it into:
Mild to moderate winters
You live in an area that doesn’t always get
winter weather and if there is some, it will not be much and not for long
periods of time. Here your tyre choice can be an all-weather tyre, which would
allow you to also drive during the summers. It also allows you to always be
ready to drive regardless of weather conditions. If you are ok with changing a non-studded winter
tyre is then your best option.
Moderate winters to proper winter
Here you will for sure have winters, but
they are not the harshest conditions. You will have snow and ice during the
season. Here the non-studded winter tyres can be a good option. Studded winter tyres
can also be used if there are no restrictions of their use.
Harsh winter conditions
When you have real winter with lots of snow
and ice that carries on for most of the winter season, you will also face the harshest
winter conditions. Studded
tyres will always give you the best grip on ice,
so this is your best option for these conditions. The non-studded tyres can
also be a good option, especially if you experience a lot of snow.
Regardless of your tyre option that you
combine with your car, you will also need to drive safely. Speed should be
adjusted to the conditions that prevail. Even the best car and the best tyres
can keep you out of an accident if you are a reckless driver.
Spring varies between the countries, but for the countries that alternate between cold winter and hot summer, spring and autumn can be challenging. There are times when mixture of both winter and summer weather is present, and the day can start with summer weather and end with winter weather.
the tyre choice is difficult to make when you have these conditions. I always
tell people that you should only drive if you still have the winter tyres on
your car. This is one of the reasons that you should change in good time to winter tyres
before the chance of any winter weather arriving and you should try to keep the
winter tyres on your car to ensure that you won’t end up in a situation where
you have snow or slush and summer tyres on your car.
If you are
not so dependent of your car, and you can leave the car standing if you find
yourself with the wrong tyres for the current weather conditions, then you just
refrain from driving until the weather improves. If you are heavily dependent
then you just make sure that you change a little bit later. Even though winter
tyres are not optimal in summer conditions, they are still a safer option that
having summer tyres on ice or snow. Summer tyres will get hard and have basically
zero grip or control on ice. Summer tyres will get hard already below freezing,
so even if the you don’t have winter conditions, but you have very cold
temperatures you should already be cautious when you drive, as you will not
have the grip that you might be expecting.
We can never
be sure about the weather and it is all down to probabilities, the longer you
wait the more probable you are to make the correct decision. However, don’t
wait too long, because if you drive with non-studded winter tyres in warm
weather, the wear will increase. If you have studded winter tyres too long you
might be breaking against local laws and regulations