Road traffic on the Midsummer weekend: Rest well before travelling, do not rush
Published on 17.6.2020
Safe traffic on Midsummer weekend relies on careful route planning, taking a calm attitude towards the journey and, first and foremost, a well rested, alert driver. The regulations of the authorities for safe domestic journeys during the coronavirus pandemic must also be taken into account.
As usual, the outward traffic of the Midsummer weekend is expected to be the busiest on the day before Midsummer’s Eve (Thursday 18 June). Traffic volumes are expected to be high also on the morning of Midsummer’s Eve (Friday 19 June), although considerably lower than on the day before. Return traffic, on the other hand, will peak on Midsummer Sunday (Sunday 21 June).
“It’s a good idea to plan your journey so that you can travel outside the busiest times of Midsummer. In previous years, driving speeds have dropped by as much as 20–30 km/h under the normal level on the busiest roads. Real-time video feed from the roads is available in Traffic Management Finland’s Traffic Situation service (liikennetilanne.tmfg.fi), for example, which shows the traffic volumes and average speeds on the most important roads also on mobile devices now,” says Jani Laiho, Head of Unit at the Road Traffic Centre.
Traffic estimates for the Midsummer weekend:
- Outward traffic peaks on Thursday 18 June, from 12–7 p.m. in Southern Finland and even later in Northern Finland. The biggest speed reductions are to be expected on highway 9 between Tampere and Orivesi, on highway 5 between Lusi and Mikkeli as well as on highway 4 between Helsinki and Lusi.
- Return traffic will be the busiest on Sunday 21 June starting before noon and continuing at high volumes until 8–10 p.m. in Southern Finland. Reduced driving speeds and congestion are expected especially on highway 4 Jyväskylä–Helsinki, on highway 5 Mikkeli–Lusi and on highway 9 Orivesi–Tampere.
Road construction may cause obstructions
In spite of attempts to minimise the impact of road construction works on traffic on the Midsummer weekend, some obstructions will remain also during the weekend. Road construction may cause reduced speed limits or changed or closed driving lanes that all slow down the traffic.
In addition to the road construction works on roads leading out of the Helsinki metropolitan area, the following works may cause disturbances on the principal roads:
- Highway 1: Bridge construction in Kaarina
- Junctions of highways 2 and 9: Bridge construction in Huittinen
- Highway 4: Road construction in Joutsa (area of impact 7 km)
- Highway 4: Bridge construction in Naiskoski, Jyväskylä
- Highway 4: Kirri junction, Jyväskylä; road and bridge construction in Vehniä
- Highway 4: Road construction of the Hirvaskangas junction in Äänekoski – road construction in Karvalahti (area of impact 11 km)
- Highway 4: Bridge construction in Hännilänsalmi, Viitasaari
- Highway 4: Road construction in Oulu–Kemi
- Highway 5: Road construction of the Mikkeli junction – Nuutilanmäki
- Highway 8: Road construction in Mynämäki–Luvia
- Highway 9: Bridge construction in Kuuhkavesi, Hankasalmi (diversion through roads 641 and 6416)
- Highway 12: Road construction in Tampere–Kangasala
- Highway 12: Bridge construction of the Kantokylä junction, Pälkäne
- Main road 40: Bridge construction in Kaarina–Makarla, Piikkiö
Information about road construction in progress and other disturbances can be found in Traffic Management Finland’s Traffic Situation service at: https://liikennetilanne.tmfg.fi/
Only drive when you are sober and well rested
The police are surveying traffic on the Midsummer weekend both with traditional methods and with automated surveillance equipment. The surveillance focuses on driving speeds, overtaking and safe driving distances. Furthermore, the police focus on enhanced surveillance of drinking and driving on the Midsummer weekend. The drinking and driving surveillance marathon monitors traffic from Sunday 21 June, 8 a.m. until Monday, 22 June, 8 a.m.
Special attention should be paid to the driver’s driving condition on the way back home. The driver should be well rested and fit to drive also during the journey home to ensure the safest possible travel.
“According to the new Road Traffic Act, the police may also interrupt driving in cases where intoxication is clearly impacting the driver’s ability to drive even if the legal alcohol limit is not exceeded. It is also good to note that driving is prohibited when you are tired even if there is no alcohol left in the blood,” National Police Board’s Chief Superintendent Heikki Ihalainen reminds.
Pay attention to driving distances and situational speeds and consider carefully whether to overtake
According to the new Road Traffic Act, the maximum allowed driving speed with a light trailer is 100 km/h, subject to the road-specific speed limit. Furthermore, the vehicle-specific speed limit of vans and camper vans under 3,500 kg has been removed, and their maximum driving speed is now the speed limit for the road in question, i.e., maximum of 120 km/h. This is likely to improve the flow of traffic on the Midsummer as well.
“The removal of the vehicle-specific speed limits and the increased speed limit for vehicles towing a light trailer brought new freedom, but more freedom also brings more responsibility. According to the new Road Traffic Act, the speed of the vehicle and its distance from other road users must be adjusted to what is required for safe traffic. This means that special attention must be paid to the driving distances and the correct speed in each situation during heavy traffic,” says Traficom’s Senior Expert Jussi Pohjonen.
“Everyone should remember from now on that they should not simply try and overtake a trailer when the speed limit is 100 km/h. The need to overtake must be considered carefully. Is it really necessary? You may only overtake when it is safe for everyone,” Rainer Kinisjärvi, Regional Manager at Finnish Road Safety Council adds.
The transition from yellow to white barrier lines due to the new Road Traffic Act can already seen in some places. A three-year transition period applies to the change of colour, and both colours can therefore be seen in traffic for quite some time.
“A barrier line must be observed whether it is white or yellow. You are not allowed to start overtaking over a barrier line or in other risky places even if the vehicle in front of you is driving slower. If you have to wait for a suitable place for overtaking, keeping a safe distance ensures good visibility even behind a larger vehicle. Forget tailgating – it only makes you more nervous. It’s better to keep a cool head when driving,” Kinisjärvi concludes.