Friday, February 03, 2012

Pileups in southern Finland

Based on the news, there were hundreds of fenderbenders and crashes today. On "Lahdenväylä", a motorway, about 200 cars had been in crashes and pileups. Driving conditions have been horrible. As far as I've heard, nobody has died.

Was I amazed when I heard of huge pileups in Helsinki. Not because of the numerous crashes (they happen when you got lots of idiots driving too fast on slippery roads/bad visibility), but because the weather has been fine all week. At least here it has, but I haven't been paying very much attention in the weather forecast once I've saw -25°C to -30°C until Monday when it warms up to -15°C.

It seems that wind brought moist sea air over Helsinki, where it cooled and started snowing. When it's cold enough (around -15°C in Helsinki today) the snow is very fluffy and fast moving vehicles with cause a "dust cloud" of snow.

Also when it's cold enough salting the road does not help, the ice will not melt. I think that in such circumstances the salt actually might make the roads more slippery. On cold days the ice on the road is pretty hard and gritting sand doesn't stick on it as well as it would on warmer days.

Combine bad visibility, slippery roads, lots of cars, and the bad habits of tailgating and driving like it was summer (=too fast) and you'll get lots of insurance paperwork to fill out. ABS and ESP and whatever can only do so much, driver must be aware of the road conditions too.

See what I mean near the end of the video of the crashes as they're happening

Afterwards, lots of wrecks and a queue of cars .

It wasn't just private cars that were in trouble. Buses crashed too. Trams had trouble getting up hills and snow was clogging the rail and tram switches causing further delays. The police suggested taking public transport, and HSL, the public transport authority suggested walking. :-)

1 comment:

  1. You are definitely right. I was driving there on that day (I was lucky to get work and back home safely) and it was totally crazy business out there. Already in the morning, visibility was only several metres, sleepy and busy people were driving there like Angry Birds right behind one another and some even without lights! Speed overall was too high and some take-overs were really autrageous and meaningless. People were extremely unpatient and hurry to their work.

    Well... after collasions and pile-ups, none had hurry anymore. When driving back from work on late afternoon, it was like driving through the war zone. Many kilometres alongside of the roads around 150-200 cars crashed everywhere. Police, ambulances and fire deparment were all there and even one army truck was involved to collasion.

    I drove slowly through the pile-up spots, and crashed cars shown along the ride were almost endless. It wasn't only one pile-up but on every 0,5-1 kilometres, there was a new one. Only narrow pathway was cleaned up for cars to drive slowly through the accident zones. Almost every major main roads leading into Capital and out were having lot's of traffic collasions and big jams. And some parts, traffic was jammed for many hours. It was crazy day...

    -From Finland