28.03.2014

By car in Finland

Driving licences issued in other EU or EEA countries are equally valid in Finland. Licences granted in one of the signatory countries to the Geneva or Vienna International Road Traffic Convention are valid in Finland for one year. For more information, please see www.poliisi.fi or contact the Police Station at Urhonkatu 1–2, tel. +358 71 874 0521.

Driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating drugs is a crime in Finland. The penalty for drunk driving is confiscation of the driving licence, a fine and a ban on driving for a certain period. Those guilty of gross drunken driving are usually sentenced to prison for 3 months. From time to time, the police carry out spot checks on drivers. Seatbelts are compulsory by law both in the front and the back seats. Children must be seated in the back, unless using a special safety seat. Headlights must always be used.

During the winter

In Finland all cars must use winter tyres in December, January and February. Foreign-registered cars must also use winter tyres (or all-season tyres) in Finland. The tread groove of winter tyres must be at least 3 millimetres. Studded winter tyres may be used between the beginning of November and the end of March (or the Monday following Easter Monday if this is later than the end of March). At other times, they may be used only if the weather conditions so require. The period during which studded winter tyres may be used is restricted because they wear down the road surface.

Also note that winter conditions require a different kind of driving. You may lose control of your vehicle if your speed is too high, you brake suddenly, accelerate too rapidly or do not turn the steering wheel smoothly. Overtaking also requires special care in slippery winter conditions. If you plan on driving in Finland in the winter, please read more about winter driving.

Traffic rules

Please remember that in Finland the car coming from the right has the right of way! There are GIVE WAY signs on some crossings, but it is best to be cautious and always check if there is somebody coming from the right. According to the law, one must give way to buses when they are setting off from a bus stop if the speed limit is 60 kilometres per hour or less. Pedestrians have the right of way at zebra crossings. You should always stop before the crossing, not on it.

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You can get to know the Finnish traffic signs at the Finnish Transport Agency website.

Fuel

The price of petrol was around €1.6/litre (95 E10) in January 2014.