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Traffic information

Accidents and emergencies

Police N.B.: after 1.1.2007 new number 112 (not anymore 10022)
Fire brigade and ambulance tel. 112 
If you have a car accident, report it to Finnish Motor Insurance Centre, Liikennevakuutuskeskus, Bulevardi 28, 00120 Helsinki, tel. (09) 680401, fax (09) 68040391

Carriage of children

New regulations from 1.5.2006

When transporting a child under 135 cm in a private car, delivery car or a lorry, a restraint seat must be used, if the seat belts are fitted in the car, or the child seat can otherwise be fitted into the car. If no restraint seat can be fitted, the child in the age of 3 years at least, may not sit on the front seat. A child under 3 years may not be transported in a car at all without a restraint seat. The only exception for this are the taxis.

All the restraint seats must meet the minimum criteria of the certain type approval.

All seats used must be approved according to the rule 44/03 of the United Nations European Economic Commission, or according to the EU directive 77/541/EEC, or according to the rules or standards later amended in that directive. The 2nd article of the seat belt directive says that the seats approved by the standards which were applied at the moment of the date of taking the restraint seat into use may be used until 9.5.2008.

The requirement level set for restraint seats acc. to the seat belt directive entered into force on 1.5.1996 in Finland, but within a transfer period, which lasted until 31.12.1998 the production, import and sales of models cohering to the older standards was permitted. These seats can be used until 9.5.2008.

Crash helmets

Compulsory for motorcyclists, mopedists and passengers.

Dimensions of vehicles 

There are 2 different measures for vehicles:

1) vehicles registered in European Economic Area and

2) for vehicles in international traffic, i.e. vehicles coming from outside the EEA, or for Finnish vehicles, which are used abroad.

The measures for vehicles, or trailers, or their combinations are: 
1) 
Height: 4,20 m 
Width: 2,60 m (for private car 2,50 m) 
Length: 18,75 m (private car 12,00 m)

2) 
Height: 4 m 
Width: 2,55 m (if heat isolated then 2,60 m), (for private car 2,50 m) 
Length: 18,75 m (private car 12,00 m)

Load of the vehicle 

No additional passengers are allowed in private cars from 1.1.2008 onwards:

The regulations for overloading will change in Finland. It will only be allowed to carry as many passengers as the amount marked in the vehicle registration entry mentions in private cars and delivery vans after 31.12.2007. This amendment is based on the new EU seat belt directive.

Until that date there is a transitional period during which a temporary overload of 30 % is allowed. But even during the transitional period all passengers must have either seat belt or safety restraint seat.

In busses the overload may be 30 % at the highest from 1.5.2006 onwards. According the old regulations it was allowed to exceed the load by 50 %, if at least some of the passengers were children younger than 12 years. Now due to this new rule the maximum permitted overload does not depend at all on the age of the passengers. 

Mobile phone and driving

Obligatory use of hands free device will is in force after the 1.1.2003. Penalty 50 €.

Nationality sign

Obligatory, unless the vehicle is registered in Geneva of Vienna Road Convention country and bears the so called “EU licence plates”. For vehicles registered outside Geneva or Vienna Road Convention countries, despite such “EU plates” an additional nationality sign is required.

Overtaking

Overtake on the left, unless the vehicle to be overtaken is signalling to turn left. In parallel lines of traffic, vehicles may be overtaken on the right. Vehicles being overtaken should not cross the white line which indicates the lane for cyclists and pedestrians.

Parking

Stopping and parking prohibitions follow international practice. Parking meters are usually grey and operate for between 15 minutes and 4 hours. Parking lights must be used if the parking place is not sufficiently lit. Although wheel clamps are not in use, police may remove illegally parked vehicles, and levy a fine.

Priority

At intersections, vehicles coming from the right have priority except on main roads. The approach to these main roads is indicated by a sign with a red triangle on a yellow background. When this sign is supplemented by a red octagon with STOP in the centre of the sign, vehicles must stop before entering the intersection. Trams and emergency vehicles, even coming from the left, always have priority over other vehicles.

Road network

The main roads are surfaced with asphalt or oil-and-sand and are in good condition all year round. In southern Finland there are local weight restrictions from April to May because of frost heaving, and in northern Finland in May and the beginning of June. There are no toll roads.

Road service

24-hour-road service phone number in whole Finland is 0200-8080 (1,95 €/minute and the local tel. company fee). For members of FIA clubs other number dedicated.

Road signs

Most signs conform to international pattern. Some examples of written signals are: 
Lossi-Färja = ferry 
Tulli = customs 
Aja hitaasti = drive slowly 
Tie rakenteilla = road under construction 
Päällystetyö = road surfacing 
Kunnossapitotyö = road repairs 
Aluerajoitus = local speed limit 

Seat belts

If fitted, compulsory use in all seats, front and back.

Signalling 

It is prohibited to sound a horn in towns and villages except in cases of immediate danger.

Speed limits

Built-up areas: 31 mph/50 km/h, 
Outside built-up areas: 50-62 mph/80-100 km/h 
Motorways: 74 mph/120 km/h. 
Cars towing a caravan or trailer are limited to 50 mph/80 km/h.

Since 22.5.2006 some mobile homes may drive 100 km/h. These mobile homes must fulfil the following criteria: they must have ABS brakes and the airbag for the driver and also seat belts on each seat which is to be used while driving. The maximum weight of the mobile home must not exceed 3,5 tons. In order to be able to benefit from this liberalisation, the mobile home must undergo a technical inspection, or the type approval procedure. After that a round sign with black numbers on a yellow background showing the figure "100" must be placed on the rear end of the vehicle. This kind of 100-km-sign must be also be placed to mobile homes under 1,875 kg, which already previously have had the liberty of driving 100 km/h.

Foreign mobile homes coming to Finland may also benefit from this rule, if the structural speed limit of the mobile allows this speed. However, the 100-km-sign is not required from foreign vehicles.

Traffic information

On-line traffic information about weather conditions, delays, road works etc. on service number of Finnish Road Administration, tel 0200-2100. Also on web pages www.liikennevirasto.fi 

Traffic offences

Police are empowered to impose on-the-spot fines, but not authorised to collect them. Fines should be paid at banks. Minimum fine 35 €. 

Traffic rules

See the website of Ministry of Traffic and Communications.

Traffic signs

  • Blue background and white script: main roads
  • Green background and white script: motorways

List of Finnish road signs on web site of Tiehallinto, Finnish

Warning triangle

Compulsory 
It is compulsory even for a foreign-registered vehicle to have a warning triangle in Finland. The use of hazard warning lights is not sufficient. Finland has very strict rules concerning the use of hazard lights. They may only be used in a vehicle stranded somewhere so that the vehicle may cause danger to other vehicles or traffic users. Therefore the hazard lights are not often used, if the vehicle stays on the side of the road due to a breakdown. Only the warning triangle is placed to warn other traffic users.

Winter motoring

Snow tyres are compulsory in Finland from 1.12. to 28./29.2. This rule applies to all cars and vans weighing under 3500 kg, even those registered abroad. The tyres must be expressly intended for winter use and should be marked M+S. Their groove depth must be more than 3 mm.

Studded tyres may be used 1.11.-31.3., or when weather conditions require.

Studded tyres can be hired from VIANOR, www.vianor.com, or tel. +358-10-4013270, fax +358-10-4013279. The order must be placed in advance.

Speed limits are generally lowered for winter time. It is important to drive more slowly when road conditions and visibility are poor, as ice and slush lengthen the breaking distance. It is advisable to carry starting cables, a tow rope, a shovel, a bag of sand and some spray to prevent dampness in electric appliances.