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Finland – Driving

Finland is a country known for its beautiful landscapes, including vast forests, sparkling lakes, and the Northern Lights. With a population of just over 5 million, the country has an extensive network of roads that provide easy access to many of its attractions. However, driving in Finland can be challenging, and it is important to be aware of the road conditions, driving standards, and legal requirements before embarking on a journey. In this article, we will discuss road safety, equipment requirements, legal obligations in the event of an accident, driving rules, road signs and traffic lights, road traffic information, and parking rules.

Road Safety in Finland

Road safety is a significant concern in Finland, and travelers are advised to be extra cautious while driving. The quality of roads in Finland is generally good, and the country has a well-maintained network of highways and rural roads. In rural areas, roads are often narrow, and drivers must be aware of the possibility of encountering pedestrians, animals, and other hazards.

Local driving standards in Finland are generally good, and Finnish drivers are known for their careful and considerate driving. However, some drivers may exceed speed limits, particularly on motorways. It is important to keep in mind that Finland has a high accident rate, and accidents involving pedestrians and motorcyclists are common. Travelers are advised to drive defensively and always be aware of their surroundings.

Equipment Requirements

According to Finnish law, drivers are required to carry specific equipment in their vehicles at all times. This equipment includes a warning triangle, a reflective vest, and winter tires in the winter months.

The warning triangle must be placed at a safe distance behind the vehicle to warn other drivers, and the reflective vest must be worn by the driver in the event of an accident or breakdown. In the winter months, winter tires are mandatory from December 1st to February 28th if the temperature drops below 0°C.

Legal Obligations in the Event of an Accident

In the event of an accident, Finnish law requires drivers to stop and exchange information with the other driver(s) involved. This information should include the driver’s name, address, phone number, and insurance details.

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If anyone is injured in the accident, the police must be called immediately. If the accident involves a pedestrian or cyclist, the driver must remain on the scene until the police arrive.

Driving Rules

In Finland, you must drive on the right side of the road. The speed limit in urban areas is 50 km/h, and in rural areas, it is 80 km/h. However, it is important to note that these speed limits are often not enforced, and many drivers exceed them.

Drivers must give way to pedestrians at all times, and vehicles entering from the right have the right of way. When approaching a roundabout, vehicles on the roundabout have the right of way.

It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving, and seat belts must be worn by all passengers in the vehicle.

Road Signs and Traffic Lights

Road signs in Finland are similar to those found in other countries, and most are easily recognizable. However, it is essential to be aware that signs may be written in Finnish, and some may not have English translations.

Traffic lights in Finland operate in the same way as in other countries. However, it is important to note that some intersections may not have traffic lights, and drivers are required to yield to traffic on the right.

Road Traffic Information

Travelers can obtain up-to-date road traffic information by checking with local news stations or online resources. The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency’s website provides information on road closures, traffic accidents, and other traffic-related information.

For more information, travelers can visit the following websites:

  • Finnish Transport and Communications Agency:


Parking Rules

Parking in Finland can be a challenge, particularly in urban areas. Drivers are required to park on the right side of the road, facing the direction of traffic. Double parking is illegal and can result in a fine or the vehicle being towed.

In areas with high populations of expats, such as Helsinki, there are often parking permits available for residents. These permits allow drivers to park in designated areas without fear of being fined or towed.

Disabled parking is also available in Finland, and drivers with disabilities can obtain a special permit that allows them to park in designated spaces. These spaces are typically located close to building entrances and are marked with the international symbol for accessibility.

Driving in Finland can be a wonderful way to explore the country’s scenic landscapes and unique cultural attractions. However, it is essential to be aware of the challenges and risks involved. Travelers should be prepared to navigate narrow roads, icy conditions, and a lack of signage. By following the rules of the road, carrying the required equipment, and driving defensively, travelers can ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. It is also important to keep up to date with road traffic information and be aware of the parking rules in your area of travel. By taking these precautions, travelers can experience the beauty of Finland by road with confidence.

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