5 Tips for Estonians Traveling to Finland With Car

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HEADS UP! This article was written in 2007. Information provided might not be valid anymore and should be taken with a grain of salt.

There are some small but crucial differences in driving culture between our two small countries. These facts are observed while living most of my life in Finland and 1.5 years in Estonia. My aim is to help Estonians understand Finnish better (and vice versa).

Radio Sucks

Take your own music with you. Finnish radio absolutely sucks. Programs contain mostly semifunny radiohosts with semifunny jokes. Bad, I mean really bad music. Every single station plays the same Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears songs. Not even any fancy remixes. Just the plain radio versions. Sometimes DJ’s go wild and play some Lordi.

There is nothing like Energy FM or Power Hit Radio in Finland. Do not mix NRJ with Energy FM. They have nothing in common.

Bassoradio is only one radio station worth listening. You can hear it in Helsinki area at 102.8 mhz. If you drive out of Helsinki you are out of luck.


No Holes In Streets

You do not have to be alert of big holes in streets. In Finland streets are generally in good condition. There is something cosmic happening in Estonia. Huge holes appear from nowhere. Previous morning it was not there. Next morning you drive to work and POWW!. You just drove into half meter wide 40 centimeter deep crack in asphalt.

I never heard anyone breaking their alloy wheels in Finland. At the moment two of my rims are not round anymore. 1.5 years of driving in Estonian roads seem to do some damage.

As the technician in United Motors said. Well, we moved the bad rims to back. So if you start to feel some vibration with speeds over 120. It is the rims…

Watch For Automatic Traffic Control

You do not need to be alert of holes. You need to be alert of automatic police cameras. They are everywhere. They even have mobile ones. You can find them in places where speed limit drops from 100 to 80. Usually immediatly after 80 sign.

There you go. Minding your own business. Driving 20km/h too fast. Snap! Camera takes a nice photo of your face and licence plate. Week after you get letter to your home. Opening the letter you find nice fine of couple hundred euros.

No Close Call Passing

Do not pass other cars same way as average rullnokk does in Tartu mnt on Fridays. This will lead into other people calling highway patrol. Police will be waiting for you in next big junction.

This is especially the case if you happen to be driving some common Estonian car such as 600 series BMW. Finland has 28% car tax. Additional 22% VAT is added to this price. Total amount of tax in cars is 42%. Because of that nobody has money to buy M6. Ok, I have seen one M6 and two Hummers in Helsinki. In Tallinn you can see 3 Hummers walking 200 metres in central city. Tartu mnt. parkhall has usually three M6’s inside. Normal 600 series seems to be more common than any random Volvo.

And no, I do NOT have 600 :)

Park Right Side Of The Street

Finland actually has some rules about parking. Most important one which seems to confuse Estonians is right side parking. It is illegal to park on left side. Reason for this clear. Randomly parking on left and right causes confusion. Other people can not be sure if road is one way or not. When you see headlights you think you are driving wrong way.

Oh, and one more thing. Absolutely NO parking on sidewalks. Not even half tyre. In Helsinki streets are narrow and pedestrians are kings. Leave your car halfway over sidewalk and some hippie enviromentaly aware person will ruin your paintwork with metal key.

Related entries: Estonian Licence Plates Does Not Mean Smuggler

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