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Is Not Using Winter Tires Illegal In New York?


Winter tires can help prevent car accidents in New York, especially at the height of winter. Icy and snowy roads can cause all kinds of issues, and many New York motorists are extremely unhappy when they see a motorist who has obviously failed to use winter tires. These motorists may not only put themselves in danger, but also those around them. That being said, it is important to determine whether winter tires are mandatory in New York, or whether they are simply “recommended.”

Winter Tire Laws in New York Explained 

In New York, you are allowed to use studded, winter tires from October 16th to April 30th. Various state officials recommend that you do so. In addition, the DMV recommends steps such as checking tire tread, removing snow from the top of the vehicle, checking defrosters and heaters, checking antifreeze levels, and learning the basics of winter driving.

In other words, you are not allowed to use winter tires except from October 16th to April 30th – but there is no law that states that you must use winter tires during this period. Although it might seem strange to ban winter tires at the wrong season, certain tires may be dangerous in certain conditions. There is no law against using summer tires during winter, however.

Hidden Legal Consequences of Not Using Winter Tires 

Although there is no law mandating winter tires during the colder months, you could theoretically still face legal consequences for failing to do so. This is because without the proper tires, it is much easier to get into a car accident when driving on snow or ice. If the authorities determine that your failure to use winter tires represents a form of “reckless driving,” you could receive a ticket.

It is important to note that the legal definition of “reckless driving” is extremely vague – giving police total discretion as to when to write these tickets. As a general rule, anything that puts other drivers in danger could be defined as reckless. The failure to use winter tires could certainly fall into this category.

It is also worth noting that using winter tires during summer could lead to reckless driving charges as well. Of course, police may not be able to tell what kind of tires you’re using from a distance – and it is only after an accident that they will take a closer look at the condition of your vehicle. It is possible to fight these tickets with help from a qualified attorney.

Find a Qualified, Experienced Traffic Ticket Lawyer in Rockland County 

If you have been searching for a New York criminal defense lawyer, look no further than Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous motorists throughout New York pursue positive results after receiving traffic tickets. We know that these incidents may lead to a range of consequences, including points on your license, fines, and worse. Reach out today to determine the best way to approach your ticket.




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Phillip J. Murphy,
Attorney At Law
Free Consultations Calls Answered and returned 24/7 Phone: (845) 639-6600 Fax: (845) 639-6620

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Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney At Law is located in New City, New York and serves clients in and around New York, New Jersey & Connecticut. Contact our experienced criminal defense law firm.
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