Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better!
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Snow Socks...AutoSocks are legal in France since Oct 2012

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
There has been much discussion in the past regarding the legality of AutoSocks v Chains in the French Alps. Apologies if this has been recently discussed again! We bought a new pair of AutoSocks last month for our new car and, after exchanging emails with them we found out about downloading the Gendarmes Certificate for B26 usage to attach to our packaging as the Norwegians had not yet updated the packaging. However, once I knew what we were looking for and had a closer look I realised the certificate is there at the bottom...very tiny, but it's there. So, at last - it's official... AutoSocks are LEGAL!!!
Again, I apologise if its old news to all of you but I've only just joined Snowheads!!
snow report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
WobblyLegs, welcome to snowheads. snowHead I think a lot of the discussion has been about how effective, and hard-wearing, they are, compared to chains. Opinions (just for a change.....) vary!
latest report     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
WobblyLegs, indeed welcome and that's useful info.

You don't happen to live in South Northants do you? Just I had this conversation with a friend recently!
ski holidays     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Thanks pam W. we have been in such a quandary wondering whether to shell out extra dosh on chains when they (possibly) wont be used, already have AutoSocks and have weird requirements on our tyre size and clearance for chains. I just feel relieved that the certificate is finally there! We have winter tyres too this year so hoping all will be well Happy
latest report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Hmmm... Boris! Off to Vallandry in a couple of weeks by any chance??
snow conditions     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
WobblyLegs, I drove (with chains on top of my snow tyres, on a very snowy day) behind a car with snowsocks on the front wheels. He seemed to be getting along just fine.
ski holidays     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
WobblyLegs, oh FFS now go read your email and pop into the bar in Apres
latest report     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
So when you are pulled into an aire de chainage by the plod and he sees the socks and says Non you wave the certificate at him and he's a happy bunny. Is that the idea? I'll have to look at my Michelin Composite ones to see if they have anything on them. I think they're supposed to be approved.
snow report     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Claude B, having also looked at this, Autosocks do claim on their website to be the only approved supplier.
snow conditions     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Cheers Boris!
latest report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Boris, Mine are more like chains but made of a composite material with metallic studs. Different concept to the socks. I'm sure I saw something somewhere when I bought them. I only drive at Easter so the chances of needing to use them are far slimmer, I haven't used them in the last 5 years but always keep some in the car.
snow report     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Yes they do claim to be and their advice re downloading the certificate and carrying a translation of the Oct 2012 release sounds good. We couldnt find a link to the actual Gendarmerie Website though. My worry was if we encountered a Gendarme who may be having a bad day and feeling particularly stroppy and awkward! So having it included in the packaging seems pretty bulletproof!
latest report     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Just looked and there's a compliance statement in french on the plasticised instructions that double as a kneeling mat Happy
snow report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Claude B,
If they have the Michelin badge on them surely they are automatically approved, after all they are the French National Tyre Company aren't they ? Toofy Grin
snow report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
WobblyLegs, if you get stuck we will come rescue you in the Disco Laughing
snow conditions     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
But that will mean we'll have to wait for you!!
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
WobblyLegs, true, but we will have wine

Now go to the Après section and stick your head in the bar
ski holidays     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I think that the French law from July 1985 is still in place http://www.viabilite-hivernale.equipement.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/arrete_18-07-1985_cle21782d.pdf (articles 8-12) and they define what equipment is suitable when you drive on a road with a 'panneau ' B26 or C14 http://www.viabilite-hivernale.equipement.gouv.fr/utilisation-des-panneaux-b26-et-a5012.html. They go on to say ''D’autres principes (snowgrip ou araignée) ne sont que des moyens de secours pour se sortir d’un mauvais pas et qui ne peuvent être utilisés pour circuler sur une section de route délimitée par un panneau « chaînes à neige obligatoire » " which would make me think that snowsocks may not be entirely legal in that context but are probably tolerated - depending who stops you! Smile and say 'Bonjour' rather than 'Hi' and you will already have a greater chance of being let through...

All that said a recent ruling seems to have asked for snowsocks (chaussettes neige) to be reconsidered on the approved list
http://www.juricaf.org/arret/FRANCE-CONSEILDETAT-20121004-362379

The Gendarmerie haven't updated their website it would appear but this is the page
http://www.gendarmerie.interieur.gouv.fr/fre/Sites/Gendarmerie/A-la-loupe/Securite-routiere-Equipements-speciaux


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Sat 26-01-13 16:51; edited 1 time in total
snow report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Thanks X-Peak. With the certificate on the packaging I'm happy to chance it!
snow report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Bump

We have a dilemma, having recently changed cars - the manual for our VW Passat states (also have spoken to them on the phone) that we cannot fit snow chains unless we fit smaller wheels/tyres (one assumes because of clearance issues). This is an additional expense we are keen to avoid (car will have winter tyres).
Having done some research, it appears we have two options:
1. Snow ladder/track system (like a chain but only sitting on the tyre and not behind) and is quite expensive (£200-300)
2. Snow socks, which (if you buy the right type - AutoSocks) appear to be a legal substitute to snow chains, and just as effective

AutoSocks seem to perform well but our question is has anyone actually tested the Gendarmerie in a snowy situation with the AutoSock/approval from Gendarmerie sticker on the AutoSock packaging as suggested?

http://www.roofbox.co.uk/car-snow-socks/pdfs/AutoSock_B26_France.pdf

Thanks

snowHead
latest report     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
If you will have winter tyres, would you really need the chains as well?
ski holidays     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Maybe not or at least can get further without them but that's what is required.
ski holidays     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Orange200 wrote:
If you will have winter tyres, would you really need the chains as well?

The Gendarmerie are liable to make that decision for you. Snow tyres are good but not a substitute for snow chains or even snow socks. I have seen the Gendarmes allowing vehicles with snow tyres to pass but make others put chains on and I have also seen them make everyone put chains on, snow tyres or not.

Do not kid yourself that snow tyres will hold as well as chains; they won't.

I currently have snow tyres and autosocks as I also don't have the clearance for chains but I'm afraid I can't comment as I've not had to use them yet.
snow conditions     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
For those whose cars can't take chains: I was in the same situation, and I've just put my Spikes Spyder Alpine Easy© fittings on the rear wheels of my BMW convertible. These are a type of front-fitting chain that doesn't have any links at all on the inside of the wheel, particularly for situations where there's not enough room between the wheel and arch/suspension/steering for chains to flap around. Although they are expensive, they can also be stretched/shortened by 225mm and fit various wheel bolt sizes. So they're more likely to be usable on an existing or future vehicle as well (conventional chains are usually very size-specific, and often won't fit your new/other car).

Ignoring what is legal or not and what police will accept or not, in terms of performance, if you have summer tyres on, then snow socks are big improvement in snow but still aren't as good as winter tyres and are no substitute for chains when conditions are bad. Let me be clear about this - snow socks are absolutely not as good as snow chains in extreme conditions like ice, steep slopes, bad snow etc. The other issue with socks is in mixed tarmac-snow-tarmac conditions, where they'll not last long on tarmac, and you can't constantly be taking them off/on if the conditions alternate a lot. But I appreciate that if you only rarely go to the Alps, then you may feel that the cost and effort of getting winter tyres is unjustified.

To be fair to the police, if they force everyone to fit chains, irrespective of AWD, 4WD, xDrive or winter tyres, it's to prevent cars without them littering the (often narrow) road up the mountain as they reach the limits of their snowsocks, winter tyres, and winters+AWD. Insisting everyone fits them at the bottom likely gets everyone up the mountain. So, for example, someone with summers who fits their chains before I do doesn't want to get stuck behind me on my winters as I get to the point where I have to fit my chains.
snow report     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Thanks all. We do travel to the Alps regularly but there is a chance we won't have this car for more than this season.

I just wondered if anyone had actually put the specific 'AutoSocks ok for the Gendarmes' claim to the test rather than any other sock Madeye-Smiley

As it happens, in the 12 years we have been driving to ski, and between ski areas once in the mountains, we have never had to use our chains in anger (came close a couple of times).

@LaForet, interesting point - we will research more into the likelihood of using a similar system you describe on other vehicles (£250-300 Sad )
snow report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@igLou - They are pricey, but apart from the ability to go on my 'no snowchain' wheels, what swung paying the premium was that they come with three wheel bolt sizes (for the wheel attachment) and you can order smaller/bigger ones, plus shorten/lengthen the circumference. I've had to try to resell (not alays successfully) three previous pairs of chains as I changed cars, so hopefully they'll work out cheaper in the long run.

I've only had to use chains three times in ten years but when I needed them, I needed them. In two cases it was not in the usual situation of a drive to the resort, but once there, having to drive down the mountain to pick someone in the party up who was arriving by train separately. And the third was getting up a steep slope out of the apartment block on the way back to the airport at the end of the trip.
snow conditions     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@LaForet, yes, until now we have managed to swop/trade in snowchains with snowchains.co.uk but I guess we'll be selling our chains.
snow report     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@igLou, I would ask snow chains.co.uk for advice. Every VW I've had over last 10 years has said you can't fit chains, all have taken the low profile 9mm without issues
snow report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
LaForet wrote:
For those whose cars can't take chains: ... Spikes Spyder Alpine Easy...

I'm wondering about some of those or the equivalent. I can't see why they would not fit on anything, assuming the tyre sizes are supported. In the Alps I'd probably not need to use the things, but carrying them would make me legal.

In BC it's often a problem in that they don't have "chain" laws, but they do have "winter tyres" (M&S) laws, and hire cars tend often to have garbage tyres, which are technically illegal and anti social as you could block the road/ die etc. I'm not a huge fan of the idea of chains, but I guess they're better than nothing, and although they don't let you fit chains on hire cars (in the contract), this type of chain would be undetectable assuming no damage was done. Some access roads specify chains must be carried also.
snow conditions     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I've been using snow socks for several years and have never had any issues with the police. Had to use them for about 50km on the snowmageddon transfer day between Christmas and new year a couple of years ago police in bourg let us through without any problems.
snow conditions     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
On the few occasions where winter tyres haven't been enough i've used snowsocks. Never had any queries although try to avoid driving up and down the hill on a saturday and the police are only really about on saturdays or when they close a section of the road for avalanche control.

However I do keep chains in the boot just in case but have never used them in 10 years.
snow report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks all.
@Boris, we've had various Passats over the years and always found something to fit with snowhcains.co.uk until now (having ignored the manual Toofy Grin ). OH is going to investigate behind the wheel again today and call them again tomorrow.

Reassuring that the police seem to be more giving than they used to be Laughing It's such a pain but obviously important at the same time Toofy Grin And options so bloomin expensive. It is however better when compared to prepping my 207 estate for a trip to the Alps with three adults, one dog and ski gear Shocked Laughing
ski holidays     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks for the link igLou just printed it off in preparation for February 1/2 term. Anyone know situation for Austria and Italy?
latest report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
There's also this link if you're brave enough to argue the point with a disagreeing gendarme:
http://www.autosock.co.uk/images/downloads/using-autosock-in-france.pdf

Has an extract from the gendarmerie's own website.
snow report     



Derived from phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group & 2004-2013 snowHeads.com Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy