Winter tires required on all vehicles as of Sunday, Dec. 1

Winter tires.
Winter tires. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) is reminding drivers that winter tires are required on all vehicles in Estonia as of this Sunday, Dec. 1. Drivers are also being asked to exercise caution as several car crashes have already occurred on Tuesday morning that could be linked to slippery road conditions.

Winter tires are required on all vehicles in Estonia from no later than Dec. 1 through no earlier than March 1, the PPA said in a press release, noting that studless winter tires are permitted year round.

A minimum tire tread depth of at least 3 millimeters is required on winter tires, although the recommended tread depth is 4-5 millimeters.

"While there weren't really very mercurial weather conditions this fall, winter never doesn't come," said Sirle Loigo, a senior law enforcement officer at the PPA. "It's now high time to switch out your tires in order to prepare for wintry road conditions. It's possible to prevent crashes if we can foresee potential hazards and react in a timely fashion. The  most important factors in difficult weather conditions are the right tires and the right speeds."

According to the police, it is not a good idea to use winter tires that are more than 8-10 years old, as they tend to degrade over time and after a certain point no longer provide sufficient conditions for safe driving. Nonetheless, tires alone are not enough either.

"Regarding winter and tires, one must take into account that tires alone don't keep a car on the road — the driver does," said Villu Vane, traffic expert at the Road Administration. "What's most important is to adjust one's driving style and be prepared for slippery conditions. Drivers should avoid any sudden maneuvers, maintain longer safe distances between vehicles, keep an eye on road conditions and reduce speeds in case of slippery conditions."

Drivers can also check road conditions on the Road Administration's Smart Road application before hitting the road.

In the span of just a few hours on Tuesday morning, several car crashes occurred in Tartu, Jõgeva and Viljandi Counties due at least in part to slippery road conditions, the PPA said.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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