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Winter speed limit rollout starts on Finland’s roads

The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency estimates that the reduced limits save at least eight lives every winter.

Digitaalisia nopeusrajoitusmerkkejä moottoritien varressa.
The speed limit on Finnish motorways drops to 100km/h on motorways during winter. Image: Matti Myller / Yle

Reduced speed limits for the winter season will be introduced on roads across Finland from Thursday, but the majority of changes will come into effect next week, according to the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (FTIA).

Speed limits on motorways and all medium-distance roads will be 100km/h throughout winter, as well as on other sections of main roads where directional lanes are clearly separated by barriers.

In addition, the limit is also 100km/h on some low-traffic roads, for example in areas of Lapland.

The limit on other main roads will be reduced to 80 kilometres per hour (km/h) for the winter period, while on certain sections of road the limit drops to 70km/h.

The FTIA says that the reduction in speed limits for winter saves the lives of an estimated eight people every year, and prevents injuries to several dozen more.

Fuel consumption, emissions fall

The agency also pointed to a number of other benefits to the reduced winter speed limit, including less fuel consumption and lower emissions.

When announcing the changing limits, the FTIA further emphasised that Finland’s Road Traffic Act obliges every driver to take into account factors such as the condition of the road, the weather, visibility and traffic conditions. Safe driving can therefore sometimes require a significantly lower speed than the speed limit sign permits.

Finland usually moves back to summer speed limits at the turn of March-April, as days lengthen and driving conditions improve.

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