You may also drive in Finland if you hold a driving license issued in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan or a country that has signed the Geneva or Vienna Road Traffic Convention and you can present either an international driving license or an official Finnish or Swedish translation of your national license.
Winter tyres are compulsory in Finland from the first of December. Roads can be dangerously icy in the mornings, and there’s often snow as well. Winter tyres are equipped with studs, which provide necessary traction for braking and acceleration. Winter tyres are required in Finland from the beginning of December until the end of February. In Lapland, winter tyres are used well into May.
Before you start the car, make sure you know how to work the heater and how to switch your high beams off and on. Use the defroster to keep the windscreen clear while driving. If you’re unsure about how your car’s heating system works, ask the car hire company for advice. Staff at any service station may also be able to help.
Make sure there’s enough fuel in the tank for the route you have planned, since service stations can be few and far apart in Lapland.
Clean your windows, the roof and air intake vents of ice and snow. Use an ice scraper to remove ice from the windows. Make sure you have one in the car! You will also need a brush for brushing off snow from the car.
While ventilation is crucial to preventing fogging, you should also make sure that the interior surfaces of the windows are clean and that you don’t bring excessive moisture inside the car in the form of snow and moisture on clothes and shoes.
Windscreen wipers and lights are important for visibility, so make sure that they are clean and working properly.
Cars are equipped with separate block heaters, which can be used to pre-heat the engine, for example in the morning after an especially cold night.
If you pull over to the side of the road, make sure that other drivers can see you, especially when it’s dark. Before you turn into a side road or any route where there are no other cars, make sure the road is indeed a road and not a snowmobile track! A wide cross-country skiing trail can also look a lot like a road in the dark.
Don’t rely solely on your navigation device. Check that the route is really meant for cars, for example by walking up the road a few metres. If you do venture on a road that’s not meant for cars, you can get stuck in the snow!
Keep in mind that braking distances are considerably longer in winter conditions. Watch out for reindeer, which can often be seen roaming the roads!