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Be safe in Easter traffic: Take these things into account when you hit the road

Published on 13.4.2022

The Easter break is starting soon for many people, and this will be evident on the roads as busier holiday traffic in the next few days. Fintraffic, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, the police, the Ministry of the Interior Department for Rescue Services, Emergency Response Centre Agency and the Finnish Road Safety Council would like to remind you that we all play a part in making Easter traffic safe. Please pay special attention to your car’s equipment in changeable spring weather conditions, make sure to keep a safe distance from other vehicles and drive at a speed that is appropriate for the situation. Now is also the right time to go over what you should do at the site of an accident and start using the 112 Suomi app.

The Easter road traffic forecasts by Fintraffic’s road traffic centre

The busiest days for traffic over Easter are, as always, forecast to be Maundy Thursday (14 April) and Easter Monday (18 April).

According to the forecasts by Fintraffic’s road traffic centre, outbound traffic is expected to be at its busiest from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Maundy Thursday. There will also be plenty of traffic between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Good Friday, and even later in the north. There may be occasional congestion on roads leading out of the capital region as well as on Main Roads 4 and 5 all the way up to Jyväskylä and Mikkeli.

According to forecasts, inbound traffic will begin to increase on Sunday afternoon and evening (17 April), with the peak time falling between between noon and 8 p.m. on Monday. Motorists should prepare for congestion, especially on roads in Southern Finland.

“There will be much more traffic over Easter than, for example, during the winter holidays, which are staggered over several weeks. If you are planning to travel for the Easter break, it’s a good idea to prepare for occasional traffic congestion and lower speeds during the busiest hours,” says Kari Tarkki, Fintraffic’s Head of Road Traffic Management Center. 

Remember the basics – the seat belt is the most important piece of protective equipment

The seat belt has been making traffic safer for 50 years, and the importance of seat belts for road safety is undeniable. In Finland, all fatal road traffic accidents are investigated by road accident investigation teams. According to the investigations, in 2020 the lives of 26 people could have been saved if seat belts had been worn.

“As always, you should remember the basics of traffic safety, such as wearing a seat belt and using car seats, in Easter traffic. Wearing a seat belt is essential for safe driving, and without it things like airbags won’t work as they are intended to,” says Inkeri Parkkari, Chief Adviser at Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom.

Pay attention to not only the car’s but also the driver’s condition – only get behind the wheel if you are well-rested

Summer speed limits will be in force in most of the country over Easter. However, spring weather can be very unpredictable, and driving conditions may change quickly. When travelling for Easter, please pay special attention to your car’s tyres and keeping long enough distances from other vehicles so that there will be enough leeway also in slippery conditions.

“Make sure that you have enough windscreen washer fluid, you have checked your tyre pressures and you are using tyres that are suitable and safe for the driving conditions. The importance of keeping a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you can also never be emphasised enough. Having enough of a distance between you and the vehicle in front of you gives you leeway if, for example, that vehicle suddenly brakes because an animal has run into the road,” says Heikki Kallio, the National Police Board’s Chief Superintendent.

Attention should also be paid to the driver’s condition and the schedule for the trip.  You should only get behind the wheel if you are well-rested and alert.

“According to surveys by the Finnish Road Safety Council, one in 10 Finns have driven a car while being so tired that they were worried they were going to fall asleep at the wheel. When planning travel days, you should anticipate the risk of tiredness and sleep enough before hitting the road. You should take rest breaks into account when planning the trip and leave plenty of time for the drive. It’s a good idea to avoid driving while ill. For example, even a mild case of COVID-19 can still be exceptionally tiring,” says Tuula Taskinen, the Finnish Road Safety Council’s Contact Manager.

Please note that you can check the latest weather information and warnings at ilmatieteenlaitos.fi. For traffic congestion updates, traffic announcements and other real-time traffic information, please check Fintraffic’s Traffic Situation service, which can also be used on a mobile device.

Go over what you should do at the site of an accident – your actions could save lives

Road users’ obligations include helping others in the event of an accidents and contacting the emergency services. It is a good idea to now and then go over what you should do in the event of an accident so that you will know what to do in a real emergency.

“If you notice a traffic accident, stop in a safe place and turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights. Move along the edge of the road to the site of the accident and seek to prevent additional damage by turning off the car’s engine and warning other traffic. Also keep your own safety in mind and, if it’s dark, make yourself more visible by, for example, wearing a high-visibility vest. Set up the warning triangle at a sufficient distance from the site of the accident, contact the emergency services and help the injured as much as you can. If professional help has already arrived at the site of the accident, focus on passing the site safely, lower your speed sufficiently and do not film or take pictures of the site,” says Alpo Nikula, Senior Officer at the Ministry of the Interior Department for Rescue Services. 

The Emergency Response Centre Agency would also like to remind everyone of the services offered by the 112 Suomi app.

“Holidaymakers should download the 112 Suomi mobile app to their phones in case of an emergency or a problem. In an emergency, you can call the emergency phone number 112 through the app. You can also use the app to call the Road User’s phone line, in which case your location data can be used to deliver urgent information about road maintenance needs to the right place. You can also get announcements about road traffic disruptions and potential emergency warnings through the app in accordance with your location,” says Juha Viitaluoma, Planning Manager at the Emergency Response Centre Agency.

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