The new traffic legislation requires drivers to use winter tires from the beginning of November should the weather so require.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ft-winter-tyres.jpgIn Finland, studded tires are popular during the winter but its non-studded cousin is also gaining popularity especially in larger cities. Photograph: Jon Bowen/Flickr
In Finland, studded tires are popular during the winter but its non-studded cousin is also gaining popularity especially in larger cities. Photograph: Jon Bowen/Flickr

If required by the weather or road surface conditions, winter tires must be used from November 1 to March 31, according to the new traffic legislation that came into effect in June this year. (Previously the compulsory of winter tires was between December 1 and February and not dependent on weather.)

Studded tires can be used from November 1 to March 31 and also during other periods if so required by weather or road surface conditions.

Failing to follow the new legislation could according to the Automobile and Touring Club of Finland that quotes the police lead to a penalty of 100 euros.

The police would also order the vehicle to a driving ban until the weather is no longer slippery. Should the driver still attempt to drive with summer tires, the police could order a fine for disobedience.

Winter tires can be non-studded or studded. Non-studded winter tires are called friction tires. Their grip characteristics are at their best on snowy roads. On icy roads, studded tires have better grip, but they cause more road wear than friction tires do. In addition, studs detach fine particles, which have harmful effects on human health, from road surfaces.

According to the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency, winter tires with a minimum tread depth of the principal grooves of 3.0 millimeters must be used in, for example, the following vehicles:

1. cars with a total mass of no more than 3.5 tons

2. vans

3. special purpose motor vehicles with a total mass of no more than 3.5 tons

4. motorcycles, mopeds, tricycles, quadricycles, heavy quadricycles and light quadricycles

5. trailers towed by vehicles referred to in paragraphs 1–4 with a category-specific or connected mass exceeding 0.75 tons but not exceeding 3.5 tons.

In slushy or snowy conditions or in conditions that are difficult for other reasons, the tread depth of winter tires should be at least 5 mm.

Vehicles with foreign registration plates must also use winter tires in Finland.

Winter tires can best be identified by the 3PMSF markings on the tires (three-peak mountain snowflake symbol).