Icy conditions lead to close to 300 road traffic accidents

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PPA patrol speaking to a driver during Tuesday's icy road conditions. Source: PPA

Icy conditions Tuesday have led to 275 accident reports as of Wednesday morning, the alarm center (Häirekeskus) says, with several people receiving injuries.

Over half the total number of accidents, at 177, were reported in Tallinn, though few serious accidents were reported nationwide, and the majority of cases did not require police intervention.

In around 20 cases, Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) personnel had to be on-site regulating traffic and ensuring safety, which included temporary signage at particularly hazardous spots, informing the Transport Board (Transpordiamet) of areas requiring maintenance, and technical spot checks on vehicles. In the latter case, some cars were taken off the road.

Accidents which caused injuries were reported on Tartu mnt, Peetri tee and Liivalaia, in each case caused by slippery conditions. A 49-year-old woman was hospitalized as a result of the first accident, a four year old boy who was a passenger in a head-on collision in the Peeetri tee accident was taken to Tallinn Children's Hospital (Tallinna lastehaigla), while the Liivalaia accident involved a cyclist who required hospital treatment at the nearby Ida-Tallinna keskhaigla after slipping of his bike.

Pedestrians also fell victim to the glaze of ice which covered most of the sidewalks from mid-morning Tuesday onwards, transforming them more-or-less into ice rinks. The North Estonian Regional Hospital (PERH) in Mustamäe, Tallinn, said Tuesday via its social media account Tuesday afternoon that its ER room was admitting a new patient every three to four minutes as a result of slipping on ice.

The conditions mostly resulted from icy rain which fell and then froze almost instantaneously, one of two unusual weather phenomena reported Tuesday - the other being Sahara dust in the upper atmosphere which had made its way across Europe.

The Transport Board says side streets in particular remain slippery on Wednesday, a national holiday, with conditions on gravel roads in rural areas also described as poor.

As a result, the board recommends avoiding traveling on roads where possible and exercising due care, including driving more slowly than usual and maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front, if this is unavoidable.

Heavy goods vehicles should avoid minor roads, the board says.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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