Road speed limits reduced to winter levels from Monday

Võõbu-Mäo section of the Tallinn-Tartu Highway has opened to traffic.
Võõbu-Mäo section of the Tallinn-Tartu Highway has opened to traffic. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

From Monday, speed limits on major roads across Estonia will be reduced from 110 km/h to 100 or 90 km/h for the winter.

On all 2+1 and some 2+2 sections, the speed limit will remain 100 kilometers per hour. The speed limit elsewhere is 90 km/h. In addition, the Road Traffic Management Unit of the Ministry of Transport retains the authority to establish a maximum speed limit of up to 110 km/h on roads with variable message signs when visibility is adequate and driving conditions are good. On the new Tartu 2+2 section of the Võõbu-Mäo road, a fixed speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour will be introduced until variable message signs are operational.

"We will definitely remind drivers that the maximum speed limit is voluntary. It is important to pay attention to the road and driving conditions and to choose the right speed," Siim Vaikmaa, head of the Road Traffic Management Unit of the Transport Administration, said.

"In winter road conditions, it is important to remember that overtaking might take significantly more time, and because passing lanes on 2+1 highways are short, this dangerous move should be avoided. Also on 2+2 roads, the slipperiness of the road surface may vary between lanes during overtaking," Vaikmaa added.

The maximum speed limit of 110 km/h will remain in effect for a total of 139.7 km and 100 km/h for a total of 186.4 km during the winter. Higher speeds will be implemented where the traffic environment allows. In winter, the speed limit will remain at 90 km/h on stretches where there is a higher risk of accidents involving wild animals and pedestrians.

This year, the speed limit on the 2+2 portion of Tallinn-Narva Highway between Maardu and Aasperen will not be increased over 90 kilometers per hour for safety reasons.

"The majority of the Tallinn-Narva road is exposed to wildlife, and there are many left turns and reversals, with pedestrians crossing the road at bus stops. Lääne-Virumaa also has a relatively low traffic, therefore the anti-slip materials, particularly in the second lane, are not as effective as they are on roads with a larger traffic frequency," Vaikmaa explained.

Lower temperatures, according to transportation officials, increase the risk of slippery roads and require lower speed limits. Drivers should choose the appropriate speed for the road conditions and drive cautiously to arrive at their destination safely. Slippery winter roads require increased awareness and consideration for other drivers. In addition to the possibility of slippery roads, the prolonged darkness makes driving difficult as well.

The use of studded tires is permitted beginning on October 15, with winter tires required on all passenger vehicles by December 1 at the latest.

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Editor: Kristina kersa

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