It used to be that it was up to every driver whether to use “summer” tyres or “winter” tyres in winter; however, last December or so, a law was passed requiring drivers to use “winter” tyres when there is snow on the ground. (Or something along those lines: I’m not sure of the exact circumstances when they’re required.)
However, when I rented a car for the coming weekend, I had to check a box and pay €10/day extra if I wanted winter tyres: they’re an optional extra. (So you might luck out and get a car with winter tyres anyway, but you’re not guaranteed it unless you check the box and pay the price; a bit like requesting a diesel engine in that respect, for example.)
So I called the office to ask whether this was still true even after this law had been passed and the lady said, yes, it’s up to every driver to determine whether they want to use winter tyres or not, and that it’s the driver, not the owner, of the car who gets dinged for breaking the law.
Now, the roads are mostly free right now (though there was some ice this morning, rather treacherous since you couldn’t see it) and temperatures will probably stay above freezing for several days before the weekend… but I wonder what their line of argument would have been a couple of weeks ago, when there was snow everywhere and people couldn’t legally have driven off their parking lot without snow tyres. “Up to the individual driver”?
What next: we get to pay extra for spare tyres and for a first-aid kit in the car, such that it’s “up to each driver” whether to pay for those (legally-required) “optional extras”?
Or pay extra for brakes?
I’m slightly annoyed but will cough up the money for the snow tyres: even if the main roads may be free of snow, I don’t know about side roads, where the snow may not have melted even after several days of above-zero temperatures.
Daylight robbery, I tell you.