Guide to Driving on Ice Road

One quite unique experience is driving on an ice road. Here is a short guide to driving on ice road in Finland.

In Finland, the seas and lakes freeze on cold winters. Thanks to this, one quite unique thing about Finland is the possibility to drive on an ice road. There are three official ice roads in Finland, free for anyone to drive. Here is a short guide to driving on ice road in Finland.

Three Ice Roads in Finland

In Finland, ice roads are opened when the ice is strong enough. This means that the ice layer must be at least 40 cm (16 in) thick for the road to open. Sometimes the ice roads have opened already in the middle of December. But usually it takes until January or February. If the ice is not strong enough by mid-February, the ice road will not be opened at all. This has happened on average once a decade.

The three official ice roads in Finland are Oulu-Hailuoto, Koli-Vuonislahti and Räisälä. These ice roads are constantly maintained and the ice condition is monitored. Driving on an official ice road should be safe, as long as you follow the traffic rules and common sense.

Guide to Driving on Ice Road

When an official ice road is opened, it is free for all road users. There isn’t a road toll or entry free. Anyone can drive it as it would be a normal road. On the ice road all the normal traffic rules apply. In addition to these there are a few additional rules to make sure that the ice road is safe to use for everyone.

Driving On Ice

  • Normal traffic rules apply
  • Ice roads have weight restrictions. Cars are allowed to drive on ice roads, but heavier vehicles are generally not allowed
  • The maximum speed limit is usually 50 km/h (30 mph)
  • Cars should not drive closer than 50 meters to each other and stopping the car on an ice road is not allowed
  • If a car breaks down on an ice road, and you stop to help. Don’t stop your own car right next to one you are trying to help

Image by Riitta Supperi / Kuvatoimisto KEKSI / Finland Promotion Board