The Ministry of Infrastructure hides its head in the snowdrift – summer tyres are still allowed on snow
It is impossible to drive without tyres – why are we told it's a question of cost?
Referring to the statement of the spokesman for the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Polish Tyre Industry Association confirms that no legislative work is underway at the ministry that would help reduce the number of accidents and bumps during the autumn rain and winter. No requirement for all-season or winter tyres in Poland is a significant shortcoming in terms of ensuring road safety in our unpredictable climate. Especially from next winter – when drivers will have to brake more often in front of pedestrian crossings after the regulations change. Meanwhile, the government wants to improve road safety by investing large amounts of money in infrastructure, but allows many cars to run on summer tyres in the middle of winter, in freezing weather.

– Unfortunately for us drivers, the topic of mandatory use of winter tyres, including all-season tyres, is completely stopped. As all of us who were stuck in traffic jams caused by summer tyre fans blocking the road during the recent snowfall. The translation by some experts of the lack of adequate regulations with low wages in Poland is so absurd that it's hard to comment on it. Of course, owning a car costs more or less. Ironically, it can be said that it will be the cheapest to drive without tyres and without fuel. Unfortunately, I don't know a car that can do that. If someone does not want to buy a winter set of tyres, but to feel relatively safe on the road – let them use all-season tyres with winter approval. It will definitely be cheaper than the liquidation of damage to the vehicle after an accident or bump on summer tyres in the middle of winter – comments Piotr Sarnecki, General Director of the Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA).

The introduction of the obligation can be spread over several years in advance – so that everyone will prepare and buy the right tyres when they will have to replace them anyway.

 – Saying that we are too poor to have suitable winter tyres is probably an insult to both Polish drivers and residents of poorer countries. As many as 17 out of 29 European countries where such tyres are mandatory have lower GDP than Poland and lower earnings of citizens. Let us not make ourselves the poorest nation in Europe – because it does not fit our history or our current level of economic development – ads Sarnecki.

In 29 European countries that have introduced a requirement to drive on winter or all-season tyres, the law specifies the period or conditions of such regulations. Most of them are specific calendar dates – such regulations exist in as many as 16 countries. Only 2 countries have this obligation defined by road conditions. Specifying the date of the requirement is the best solution in this case – it is a clear and precise provision, leaving no doubts.

Driving on winter or approved all-seasons tyres means an average 46% reduction in the probability of a road accident compared to driving summer tyres – these are the conclusions of the European Commission study of selected aspects of tyre use related to safety[1]. This report also proved that in countries where the requirement for winter approved tyres was introduced as a legal requirement – reduction in the number of fatal accidents was noticed on average by 3% – and there are countries that have seen a 20% drop in accidents. In all countries that require winter tyres, this also includes all-season tyres.

Requirements of winter tyres in Europe:



Calendar obligation

(specified by different dates)

Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia Sweden, Finland
Belarus, Russia, Norway, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldavia, Macedonia, Turkey

An obligation depending only on weather conditions

Germany, Luxemburg

Mixed obligation calendar-wheather

Austria, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia

An obligation imposed by signs

Spain, France, Italy

The driver's obligation to adapt the car to winter and the financial consequences of causing an accident with summer tyres

Switzerland, Liechtenstein

Poland is the only country in the European Union with such a climate where the regulations do not provide for the requirement to drive winter or all-season tyres in autumn and winter conditions. Workshop observations still show that as many as 1/3, i.e. about 6 million drivers, drive summer tyres in winter[2]. This indicates that there should be clear rules – from which date such tyres should be fitted to a car. Every year, for several decades, over 3,000 people die on Polish roads and almost half a million accidents and road collisions occur. We all pay our bills for this data with rising insurance rates.

Annual accident costs, including costs of treatment, compensation, funerals, damaged infrastructure or bodywork repairs are a record PLN 50 billion. Why is our country doing so little that we would lose less of this money as a society?


[1] European Commission, Study on some safety-related aspects of tyre use,

Source: Polish Tyre Industry Association