The legal obligation for mandatory possession of winter equipment in vehicles starts each year from November 15th until March 15th the following year. The provision for mandatory possesion of winter equipment is not only a legally binding clause, but a practical life saving convenience affecting the vast extent of your safety. The law provides two alternative legally binding options when it comes to the possession of winter equipment:
1) winter tires mounted on all wheels, with the minimum tread depth of 4 (four) mm bearing the label M & S, M + S or MS (Mud & Snow). The possession of snow chains and additional tire mounting traction devices is not needed under this option.
2) tires with a summer profile on all wheels with a tread depth of at least 4 (four) mm, if supplemented with snow chains with the adequate size for the drive axle wheels, or other appropriate devices to increase the traction. If, due to technical limitations, certain vehicles with heavier payloads can not be fitted with snow chains, the possession of four winter tires and a snow shovel is mandatory.
Tips for preparing your vehicle for the winter:
Despite the mandatory legal provisions, the inspection of the vehicle and servicing the vehicle in a specialized auto center for your vehicle type is equally important.
Check the coolant liquid in your vehicle. Check if the installed liquid withstands low temperatures (antifreeze with a specified point of freezing) to prevent against the danger of freezing and damaging the cooling system of the vehicle.
Check the windscreen cleaning system, whether it is fully operational and whether it contains liquid which withstands low temperatures to prevent against the damage that may occur from freezing of the liquid. Because of wet and muddy roads in the winter period, the windscreen is more likely to become unclean more often and reduce the driver's visibility.
Check if you own a scraper for snow and ice, broom or snow shovel to be prepared for the period when temperatures will fall below zero degrees Celsius (32'F) and snowfall is expected.
Check if your wipers leave traces on your windscreen and whether their wiper blades are fully operationalt. If they dont perform as intended, replace them.
Check the cabin air filter and if necessary, replace it. Due to the low temperatures during the winter, the heating system will be used more often.
Check your air conditioning system. Although there is a notion among drivers that the air conditioning is important only for the warm part of the year, it is equally important for the winter part of the year, playing a big role in the visibility. Turn your AC, set it to warm air and turn the airflow towards the windows. The moisture and the condensation which occurs on the inside of the windows will disappear immediately. If you do not have an aircon in the car, keep a microfiber cloth to wipe your windscreen from the inside, turn the heating towards the windscreen and leave the window minimaly open to prevent from fogging.
Check your battery. If you have problems starting the car in the autumn, it is more likely that the battery will not work at all on a cold winter day. If its lifetime has expired, replace it.
When driving on a snowy frosty/icy road, the danger for you and your vehicle multiplies.
Do not drive! If you do not have the experience and do not have a reason to use your motor vehicle in a snowfall, frosting or icing on the road, we advise you to leave your car parked and use another form of transportation.
You need to be especially careful in an event of a thick freezing fog and a frosty/icy road. In such conditions, do not drive your vehicle without the winter tires installed and having the winter equipment! The driving experience is very important too.
The adjusted speed of the vehicle to the winter driving conditions is a key parameter of the security. In the winter period, the speed of driving often needs to be few times less than the maximum speed limit. During a bad winter weather, the friction between the tires and the road id drastically reduced. The mandatory winter tires are helpful, but do not take them for granted as frozen roads are not as safe as driving under normal conditions. To protect yourself from sliding and losing control of the vehicle, drive slowly, keep a greater distance between you and the vehicle ahead and be fully concentrated.
The increased distance of braking and stopping the vehicle in conditions of a wet/frozen/snowy road is additional reason to reduce your speed. If there is an obstacle ahead, or a landslide, a vehicle braking or an accident occured, the chances of avoiding a collision are much greater if you keep your distance greater and drive slowly.
If you are going on a long journey, plan your route and inform a close relative or a colleague about your driving schedule. If you stop to rest, call or send a message informing them where you are.
On frosty/icy/snowy downhill turns, you should be extremely careful and control the speed of your vehicle. Due to the long braking time and the possibility of sliding, your speed has to be kept as low as possible.
Although the "ABS" system and the Electronic Stability System - "ESP" is helpful for the driver, especially in the winter period, do not take them with full confidence! Do not increase your speed and be cautious!
On a road sloping down, make sure that you let the vehicle driving uphill pass due to the more difficult uphill start.
Do not overtake on a slippery or frozen road if there is no real reason or the circumstances do not allow (unless passing by a standing vehicle or overtaking slow moving cargo trucks if you have good visibility).
When going on a longer journey in winter, and especially in a bad weather, make sure that your tank is full so that you can deal with the circumstances of a snow-blocked road that cannot be driven through or in any other event in which the vehicle is going to be stationary, was involved in an accident and cannot be driven, because the heating of the vehicle runs only on the fuel from your gas tank. On the other hand, the car loses the heat very quickly and the danger of hypothermia is very high in a non-running vehicle.
Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged so that you can call the Ambulance and the Police in case of an accident.
During a long journey protect yourself against the unforeseen circumstances such as a heavy snowfall by carrying a supply of food in case you are confined to stay stationary amid a snow-blocked road for longer periods, while the emergency vehicles arrive and clear the road.
Bring your sunglasses with you to protect yourself from the low angle winter sunshine.
Bring a snow shovel in case you get stuck in snow. Install snow chains on the tires. If this does not help and you are stuck in frozen snow and ice, insert your floor mats bellow your tires or tree branches so you can exit the snow.
In some cases you will need a towing service. Save their number in your phonebook!
Last but not least, do not forget to choose one of the insurance policies of Croatia Insurance/Non-life! Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and your policy will be sent to your e-mail adress!