Finland: gridlock as drivers struggle with first major snowfall of winter.
Countries that love to beat themselves up about poor winter-preparedness should take heart from what happened in southern Finland today (Friday).
The land of countless world rally champions – where supreme car control on slippery surfaces is said to be part of the national DNA – ground to halt as the first major snowfall of the year hit this afternoon.
Up to 9cm of snow fell in the space of a few hours as snow storms swept in from the east. The Baltic countries and Poland also saw major snowfall. Conditions are set to improve over the next week.
The capital’s Ring Road III came to a complete halt for several hours as trucks failed to climb even shallow inclines. There were also collisions on Ring Road I, on the Lahti motorway, at Helsinki airport and on the Karjaa-Lohja highway.
Fortunately there were no major injuries.
Finland is the only EU country where M+S winter tyres are compulsory throughout the winter months, whatever the conditions (see more here).
It is also the only country where speed limits are reduced, to 100kmh on motorways and 80kmh on main roads.
The Finnish Roads Administration Liikennevirasto tracks weather and road conditions in real time, including a comprehensive network of webcams.