Driving in Finland
To many people from other European countries, driving on traffic-free roads is a holiday in itself. Roads in Finland are generally in a good condition and empty, with only the evening sunshine to keep drivers company.
Traffic jams on the same scale as central Europe are uncommon in Finland. You might hear complaints about the traffic from Finns, but never from visitors. Their attitude is completely different to that of big-city residents: to a Finn, a delay of a couple of minutes is equivalent to ‘heavy traffic’.
There are car hire companies in all major towns and cities, and at airports. It’s worth booking in advance, and you must have a credit card. As long as you have an EU or Swiss driving licence, you can get on the road in Finland straight away.
About speed limitations
The general speed limit in Finland is 50 km/h in built-up areas and 80 km/h outside. Both limits are in force as long as no other speed limit is signposted. On major highways you can drive 100 km/h in the summer and 120 km/h on motorways.
In the winter months, all vehicles must have winter tyres – preferably studded. Roads are generally not gritted. Instead, they are maintained by snowploughs. In winter the general speed limit is reduced everywhere to 80 km/h.
If an oncoming vehicle flashes its high beams at you, this may mean one of a few things in Finland: there is a moose or an accident ahead, or you do not have your headlights on. It is a legal requirement to have your headlights on, whether in summer or winter, in sunlight or darkness, even under the Midnight Sun.
How can you recognise foreign tourists at Finnish petrol stations? They’re the ones who leave their cars by the pump. People in Finland move their cars off to the side after filling their tank and then go in to pay.
Did you know this?
The Finnish drive on the right and overtake on the left.
Snow tyres are required December to February and engine heaters are strongly recommended.
Headlights must be used at all times.
The blood/alcohol limit in Finland is 0.05.
The minimum driving age in Finland is 18.
There are no toll roads.
Seatbelts are compulsory front and rear.
Children under 3 years must always use the child restraint.