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Driving Tips - Quick Guide to Driving in Finland

Top Tip! Many traffic and street signs in Finland are dual-language
If you see a sign which seems to have, for example, two names for the same destination - you're right. In the vast majority of cases the first name is Finnish, and the second name is the Swedish name for the same place. There are even some predominantly Swedish-speaking parts of Finland where the street signs are 'Swedish-first', but this is not common.

What number do I call for emergency services in Finland?
Police/Fire/Ambulance Service - 112

What do the Traffic Signs Mean in Finland?
The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (Vayla) is responsible for road signs. All Finnish traffic signs can be seen at Road Signs www.vayla.fi

Are there special requirements for driving in Finland?
Finns drive on the right and overtake on the left.
Driving in Finland during winter can be dangerous; winter tyres are a requirement from November to March inclusive. See Tyre requirements
Engine heaters in winter are recommended.
All motor vehicles must use headlights whenever the car is being driven - everywhere!
Motorists in Finland should remain alert for moose / elk and reindeer which frequently wander onto roads and are most active at dusk.

Useful Finnish terms for driving in Finland
Finland - Suomi
Petrol Station / Gas Station - Huoltoasema
Parking - Pysakointi
Exit - Uloskaynti
Entrance - Sisaantulo
Detour - Kiertotie
Hospital - Sairaala
Police - Poliisi
Police Station - Poliisiasema
Ambulance - Ambulanssi
Ferry - Lautta
Tulli - Customs
Aja hitaasti - Drive slowly
Tie rakenteilla - Road under construction
Kunnossapitotyö - Road repairs
Aluerajoitus - Local speed limit

Traffic conditions in Finland:
Traffic Conditions Road / Rail / Air / Sea: Traffic Management Finland provides real-time information on incidents, road works, traffic conditions, traffic congestion and weather conditions, as well as air, rail and sea traffic throughout Finland. in English, Swedish and Finnish. Click the map for reports from that area.

What should I know about Parking in Finland?
Parking restrictions are strict but clearly indicated. Park at least 5 metres from any pedestrian crossings and intersections. Most cities have time-limited parking spaces which require the purchase of parking vouchers. These can be bought from vending machines on the street, which use cash and cards. The vouchers must be displayed on the dashboard. In some free but time-limited parking areas, the driver is required to indicate the start of the parking time i.e. time of arrival. This is often done with a parking disc. The disc or other indicator should be clearly displayed on the dashboard.

Parking disc

What is the speed limit on Finnish Roads?
Unless otherwise indicated, the speed limits are
Speed in Built-up areas: 50 km/h
Speed outside Built-up areas: 80 km/h
Speed limit on Motorway: 120km/h
Speed limit on Major roads: 80-100km/h
*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.

What is the conversion for km/h to mph?
60 mph = 100 km/h
1 mile = 1.6 km
1km = 0.6 miles

What is the alcohol limit in Finland?
The blood alcohol limit is 0.5 g/litre. A level of 1.2 g/litre or higher constitutes aggravated drunken driving. Travellers should be aware that drink driving laws are strict. Police strictly enforce all traffic laws and institute random roadside breathalyser tests. Those drivers who register a .05 or above alcohol content are subject to immediate arrest.

What are the seat belt regulations in Finland?
In Finland seat belts are compulsory front and rear.

What is the minimum age for driving in Finland?
The minimum driving age in Finland is 18*
*Anyone aged 15 or above before 1 January 2000 is entitled to drive a moped without a moped licence. Otherwise a licence is required.
*Exemptions to the age limit can be granted in certain circumstances

What documents do I need to carry in the vehicle?
You should carry your driving license and insurance certificate. It is no longer necessary to carry a paper copy of the vehicle registration, as the system has been digitized. However, the paper copy should be carried when using the vehicle outside Finland. More info

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