High winds, sleet and rain have made for dangerous driving conditions on Estonia's roads, particularly in the southwest of the country, with several serious accidents and one fatality reported Monday.
Authorities are urging drivers to exercise caution when on the roads.
A 43-year-old man was killed in a collision between the van he was driving and a truck, Õhtuleht reports (all links in Estonian).
The tragedy happened at shortly before 4 p.m. on Monday, on the Saku-Laagri road in Tänassilma village, Viljandi County.
A Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) spokesperson told the evening paper that the van driver had lost control of his vehicle, crossing lanes into the path of the oncoming truck, whose driver suffered minor injuries.
Sadly, the van driver succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
The road was closed at the time, with PPA personnel directing drivers towards detours.
In Pärnu County, two people were injured after a bus left the road in Häädemeeste Municipality, at 6.30 in the evening, daily Postimees reports.
One of the injured was the bus driver, and he and one passenger were taken to hospital for checks.
Two passengers riding the bus at the time were uninjured. The exact circumstances of the accident are being clarified.
Another accident in poor driving conditions took place in Harju County and involved a serving NATO soldier, Virumaa teataja reports.
The incident occurred around 5 p.m. on Monday, at the 35th kilometer of the Jägala–Käravete road in Anija municipality, Harju County.
Two cars collided in the accident after a Toyota being driven by a French soldier lost control while exiting a bend, and skidded into the path of an oncoming car.
The soldier has been hospitalized at the North Estonian Regional Hospital (PERH), while a 51-year old woman, one of the occupants of the oncoming vehicle, also required hospitalization.
Additionally, one of two dogs traveling in the oncoming car escaped and fled the scene of the accident and was still being searched for at the time of writing.
Traffic was heavily disrupted at the scene.
The accident is not the first to have involved NATO personnel in recent years.
Elsewhere, Maaleht reports that a truck went off the road and into a culvert near Abja-Paluoja, Viljandi County, and another incident near the village of Reegoldi, Põhja-Sakala municipality, Viljandi County, also saw a truck leave the road, regional daily Sakala says.
No serious injuries were reported.
The Transport Administration had already ordered a special road maintenance regime for Pärnu and Viljandi counties due to the weather.
On Tuesday, high winds, sleet and rain are making for similarly hazardous conditions, and the Transport Administration is urging drivers to select a speed lower than usual for the stretch of road in question, and to maintain a sufficient distance from the vehicle in front.
A low pressure zone stretching across much of Northern Europe is responsible for the current wet and windy conditions, and far milder temperatures than had been experienced in recent days.
While the ambient temperature will be above zero today, Tuesday, remaining around the zero mark through to Thursday, from Friday it is forecast to drop several degrees, meaning much of the accumulated meltwater is likely to freeze over again – making for yet more hazardous conditions on the roads and sidewalks.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Postimees, Maaleht, Õhtuleht