Although driving in Finland may prove a bit tough, no doubt the scenery will make up for it. Since it snows heavily in Finland in the winter months, driving at that time can get dangerous.
When driving in Finland, remember that you need to drive on the right
side of the road, which is something you will need to get adjusted to quickly if you are coming from a country that drives on the left.
Speed Limits in Finland
Speed limits vary depending on where you are driving in Finland. The speed is measured in kilometers per hour (kph), which might be a bit confusing for someone who's not used to the metric system.
Speed limits in Finland are:
- Urban areas: 50 kmph (31 mph)
- Open roads: 100 kmph (62 mph)
- Motorways or Expressways: 120 kmph (74 mph)
There are also winter speed limits. In winter most 100 km/h speed limits are reduced to 80 km/h. On motorways the 120 km/h limit is reduced to 100 km/h.
The minimum age requirement for driving in Finland is 18 years.
Drinking and Driving
The amount of legally allowed alcohol in the blood is 0.5 mg/ml.
The drinking and driving laws are extremely strict in Finland and if violated heavy fines may be charged. The police have the authority to randomly conduct breath analyzer tests and those found guilty can be arrested on the spot. A level of 1.2 g/litre or higher constitutes aggravated drunken driving.
Only 'hands free' mobile telephones can be used whilst driving.
Remember to carry important documentation with you at all times. Documents you should have with you:
- Driver's license - The information in your driving licence must be written in a Latin alphapet or accompanied by a translation by a reliable source or an international driving licence. If your license does not incorporate a photograph, ensure you carry your passport to validate the license.
- Certificate of Motor Insurance
Right of way
In Finland, trams have priority over cars.
Finland requires the use of either seatbelts or a safety seat for everyone in the car, both at the front and back.
Driving with Children
The police in Finland are not authorized to collect fines on the spot.
The amount of the fines depends on your income level. There is no maximum level of a fine, which means that if you have a very high income, you may be charged exorbitantly high fines.
Additional Required Equipment
All cars in Finland must be equipped with the following equipment:
- Winter tyres - Winter tyres (either studded or non-studded) are a legal requirement during the winter.
Parking restrictions in Finland are strict but clearly indicated. Cars must always be parked in the direction of moving traffic and at least 5 metres from any pedestrian crossings and intersections.
Most Finnish cities use parking meters which require the purchase of parking vouchers from vending machines on the street, which use cash and cards. The vouchers must be displayed on the dashboard.
In some areas a parking disc is required. The need for a parking disc is always displayed on a separate sign, and should be placed on the dashboard displaying the time of arrival.
Dipped headlights or day-time running lights must be used whenever the car is being driven, in built-up areas as well as outside them. This is important because headlights significantly improves the visibility of vehicles in traffic
Animals frequently cross the roads at unpredictable times, therefore drivers should be careful of running into them.
The horn is only allowed to be used outside built up areas. Horns may be used during times of danger or during low visibility.
There are no toll roads in Finland.
During low visibility, all cars are required to use headlights. In certain areas, such as built up ones, headlights should be on all the time.
Particular types of licenses are accepted in Finland. The EU/EEC model of 1949 and 1968 national licenses along with an official translation in Finnish or Swedish is accepted. You must be careful of the fact that Finland does not accept International Driving licenses or permits. An international driving license can only be issued against an official Finnish license.
When you approach priority roads, they will be indicated by a sign showing a red triangle against a yellow background.
Gas stations are open 24 hours and have automatic pumps. All of them accept major credit cards as well as cash. If you prefer leaded petrol, unfortunately, that is not available in Finland.