Welcome to Finland!

Some of you may have visited Finland before,  but not necessarily at wintertime and not in the rural areas.   Here another factsheet – this time about rules of the road, wildlife etc. 

  1. Right-hand traffic. In Finland we drive on the right side of the road. 
  2. Speed limits during winter: Motorways 100km/h.  Main provincial roads 80km/h.  Rural roads 80 km/h unless otherwise indicated. Within a built-up area 50km/h, unless otherwise indicated. 
  3. Finnish is most commonly used as a language in traffic signs, at certain areas you only find signs in Swedish and in some both official languages are used. 
  4. Winter tyres are compulsory from first December to end of February. 
  5. If your 2CV has seatbelts, you are supposed to use them. 
  6. You need to use headlights at all times – even at daylight.
  7. Number for Emergency Response Center: 112

In general driving in Finland is easy. You don’t see too many traffic jams in Finland  (other than ones created by one tractor and three cars behind it – a common joke)   Of course there are exceptions, but that (mainly) concerns those driving near our capital Helsinki. 

In general the roads are in good condition. You find out there is a lot of space in Finland. Some legs of this trip you may find even a bit lonesome as nearly all you can see is forest both side of the road. The scenery varies somewhat at least. And all of a sudden,  in the middle of nowhere – as it may seem – you see people walking their dogs etc. Yes, there’s life out there. 

What makes driving in Finland a bit challenging (other than weather conditions) is wildlife.  The biggest one you may pop into (hopefully not collide with) is moose /elk, which may wander onto roads especially at dusk. The moose don’t wander in big herds, but if you see one, be cautious as there just may be two or even three more.  There are road signs indicating, where moose do  regularly wander.  

When in Lapland, you most commonly see reindeers.  Lots of them.  Not that big in size and yet big enough to cause damage. Reindeers do not fear vehicles at all, so when you see them, drive  very very slowly.  There may be dozens of them on the road and all you need – and can – do is wait for those to step aside.  If you have a smartphone, there is this special app available: Porokello.  This app alerts every time you approach area where other (mostly professional) road users have recently seen reindeers near or on the road. The app also gives you advice, how to proceed, if you hit a crash site or be the one yourself that collides with a reindeer.  And attention: a reindeer, although wandering free, is not actually a wild creature,  the ear tags indicate that it has an owner. 

If you haven’t ever driven on snowy of icy roads there’s some information coming with the next info letter.  But for starters:  drive carefully – always. Remember to keep safe distance to the vehicle you’re following. When approaching crossroads, start braking early enough. Remember, your car won’t stop as fast as it would in summer conditions. 

See you all very soon… 

The organising team.