Do you know the traffic rules? According to a survey by the Finnish Road Safety Council, six out of ten people think that rehearsing traffic rules might be good idea. Unclarities concern some new traffic signs and especially the Right-of-Way Rules between cyclists and motorists. For example do you know how to drive in a roundabout? Do you recognize the sign of the cycle street?
By knowing and following the rules, you can improve road safety for everyone. You can start reviewing your knowledge by going through the traffic rules we have on this site.
Drivers must give way to pedestrians who are on a zebra crossing or preparing to step onto one.
If the obligation to give way has not been indicated with a traffic sign, the traffic rules determine who should give way at the intersection
of a cycle track and a carriageway. At the intersection, a cyclist entering a road from a cycle track must give way to vehicles coming from both the left and the right. Regardless of this, however, vehicles must always give way to pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders who are
crossing the street that the vehicle is turning onto.
Cyclists can cross the road using a zebra crossing. If the cyclist is walking their bike across the zebra crossing, they are classed as a pedestrian and so motorists must give way.
In this picture on the right the obligation to give way has been indicated with a traffic sign. Both give way sign and stop sign mean that motorists must give way to the cyclists crossing the road.
A cycling path extension is only marked if vehicles on the road are required to give way by one of the following signs: give way, stop or a give way to cycles. With the give way to cycles sign, cycling path extensions are always structurally elevated or controlled by traffic lights.
This change came with the new Road Traffic Act that entered into force on June 1st 2020. There is a transition period of two years. Please note that during the transition period, road markings may not correspond to the road signs. Follow the signs and the traffic situation as a whole.
A turning vehicle must give way to pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders crossing the road.
Always approach an intersection with care.
Both give way sign and stop sign mean that at an intersection you must give way also to the cyclists crossing the road.
Motorists entering and exiting a roundabout must give way to pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders crossing the road.
Give way to other road users whenever you enter the road from a courtyard, parking lot, courtyard street etc.
The bicycle street is a completely new type of street indicated by a traffic sign. Cars are allowed on a cycle street, but cyclists must be given unobstructed access and the driving speed must be adjusted to cycling speed. The speed limit on the cycle street is indicated with a separate sign.
Bicycle streets have a separate walkway for pedestrians.
Two-way traffic may be allowed for cyclists on a one-way street with additional panels. The additional panels will be with the sign indicating a one-way street as well as the “No entry” sign. Cyclists must travel on the right side in relation to their direction of travel. Situations such as encounters, ends of the one-way street and street crossings require special attention.
Road markings can be used to indicate a bicycle lane intended for cyclists. Riding on a bicycle lane is no longer allowed for mopeds. The bicycle lane can also be indicated with a traffic sign. Riding on a bicycle lane is subject to the same rules as riding on a carriageway.
The New Road Traffic Act
New Road Traffic Act entered into force on June 1st 2020. Mainly the traffic rules stayed the same, but there were some changes. Many changes concerning traffic signs and road markings have a transition period spanning years. During the transition period, there will be both new and old signs and markings on the road, which requires special attention from all of us.
Some key changes are listed on this site. More detailed information on the new Act can be found from Traficom website.
On two-way roads in built-up areas, stopping and parking on the left side of the road is also permitted, if this does not endanger or inconvenience traffic. Park on the left side of the road only when it does not endanger other road users or cause inconvenience. Even when parking on the left, crossing barrier lines is not allowed.
Be aware of your vehicle’s possible blind spots. Especially from a van or truck, it may be difficult to see what's behind your vehicle.
Assess the situation before parking on the left side. The situation may have been favourable when you were parking, but changed completely when leaving due to busier traffic, for example.
A sign with a red two-branched arrow on a blue background indicates that two lanes will merge. When you see the sign, prepare to merge. Drivers are to change to the merging lane by taking turns using the so called zipper method. Anticipation, planning and safe distance between vehicles improve the flow and safety of traffic: slow down before moving your vehicle sideways.
The maximum allowed speed for passenger cars or vans and lightweight trailers or boat trailers with a maximum mass classification of 750 kg is 100 km/h. Vehicle-specific speed limits have been removed for vans as well as camper vans weighing up to 3500 kg. Now, these vehicles may follow road-specific speed limits (max. 120 km/h).
A speed limit is not a recommended speed. When choosing your speed, take into account weather conditions, your vehicle and its load.
If a crossing road has two or more lanes in the direction of travel, driver may leave the intersection using the most suitable lane while taking other road users into account. Assess the situation before turning: pay attention to any oncoming vehicles or vehicles next to you and behind you. If there is a lot of traffic, the safest option is still to choose the nearest lane. People turning from opposite directions to the same direction cannot determine from your indicator which lane you are turning to. Always remember to use your indicator and maintain a sufficiently low speed when turning and changing lanes.
If so required by weather or road surface conditions, winter tyres with a minimum tread depth of the principal grooves of 3.0 millimetres shall be used during November, December, January, February and March. In other words, you could use summer tyres in January if the weather allows. Take weather conditions into account as a whole, not just the condition of main roads. Do not let winter surprise you. Only drive with tyres that are in good shape. Make it a habit to check your tyre tread depth regularly. Requirements to use winter tyres apply to motorcycles and mopeds as well.
When cycling in dark or dusk or when visibility is limited due to weather or other reasons, bicycle must have red rear light facing backwards in addition to white or light yellow light showing forward. Light can be attached also to the person riding the bicycle, for example to the helmet, instead of the bicycle.