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Southern Finland slips and slides through the weekend

Driving conditions were very poor in southern Finland on Sunday morning after yo-yoing temperatures created sheets of ice on many of the regions roads. Several accidents were reported on Saturday night, with hospitals also kept busy by pedestrian injuries.

Jäinen tie.
Finland was struggling to deal with surfaces like this one over the weekend. Image: Tuula Nyberg / Yle

Finland’s on-off winter is wreaking havoc with roads, pavements and pathways across the south of the country. The Finnish Transport Agency issued a warning on Saturday night of rapidly changing driving conditions, as temperatures dipped and melted snow froze on road surfaces—creating an ice rink for drivers and pedestrians to negoatiate.

Taxi drivers and other motorists began to report large numbers of slippery roads from Saturday evening, with accidents occurring on all the major arterial routes in Helsinki.

The Meteorological Institute has issued a warning for poor driving conditions across the country.

Finns unsteady on their feet

While none of the road accidents caused serious injuries, some of those out for an evening stroll were less fortunate.

Töölö hospital in Helsinki has doubled the number of surgeons on hand to deal with broken bones caused by slips and falls, but the hospital is still working flat out to handle the flow of patients.

“The situation is exceptionally bad,” said Petri Voutilainen, a surgeon at the hospital. “It’s rare to have this many patients. It’s not every winter that we get such difficult situations.”

Patients at the hospital are having to wait longer than usual, but they are getting treated. Voutilainen says that it’s not just the slippery surfaces at play here—plenty of people are also having a couple of drinks too many before venturing out.

“A big factor in many of these accidents is that the patient has been drinking alcohol, which means their judgment and co-ordination are not at their normal level,” said Voutilainen.

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