Bulgaria: Winter tyres not compulsory, but recommended
Whatever. The right moment to change tyres again is coming closer and closer. Ideally, we should be using winter tyres from mid-November the latest.
These are the facts about winter tyres in Bulgaria:
> The law
Contrary to what some Bulgarian-language media are reporting, winter tyres are not mandatory, at least not at this stage. In November of 2016, the National Assembly in Sofia voted to make a tread of 4mm mandatory. This means, using summer tyres in winter is not illegal, if they have that kind of tread.
On mountain passes, winter tyres or even chains might be mandatory, depending on the weather conditions. But this is a separate aspect, which is not directly connected to the Bulgarian law mentioned.
> The recommendation
Only days after that parliament vote last year, the National Road Agency of Bulgaria asked motorists to use winter tyres anyway. They were right, generally and in that particular case, since a very tough winter with loads of snow and ice was approaching. Of course, nobody knew, at that moment.
Whatever the law says, the National Road Agency is right. Winter tyres should be used from mid-November the latest. Chances are there will be ice and snow, at least at some point. Or another harsh winter might hit Bulgaria. Who knows?
Even if the upcoming winter is mild, temperatures will go below zero at times. Using summer tyres is unsafe, even during mild winters.
> The right moment
For motorists who change their tyres themselves, the right moment might be anywhere between November 1 and November 15, depending on the weather.
For the rest of us it might be anywhere between right now and the end of October, since there will be long lines in front of tyre service places. Those lines will not get any shorter.