Wintry road conditions lead to series of accidents, three fatalities

Coach that collided with a truck in Ardu, Jan. 24, 2017. Source: (Kaarel Tooming)

Shortly after midday on Wednesday a coach and a truck collided on the Tallinn-Tartu highway section in the area of Ardu in Harju County. The 71-year-old bus driver later died in hospital, and 16 of the 37 passengers were injured, four of them critically.

According to the police, the section of the highway where the accident happened at the time wasn't properly maintained. The speed limit in the area is 90 km/h, though the police cautioned that given the conditions, naturally that speed would be too high.

A representative of the Road Administration told ERR in the evening that the police's claim that the road wasn't maintained at the time was "wrong."

"Maintenance is done exactly the way it's done. It certainly isn't right to say that it wasn't maintained. Maintenance is done just at the right time. There's no point spraying [the road] with chloride right in the drifting snow, the effect would be the opposite," the Road Administration's Andres Piibeleht said on ERR's Aktuaalne kaamera newscast.

He added that seeing as it is currently winter, wintery road conditions are inevitable, and that drivers need to take this fact into account.

In another accident in the afternoon just 10 km from where the first fatal accident happened, a Toyota Yaris frontally collided with a truck. Though the driver of the Toyota survived, the passenger later died.

In a third accident on Wednesday evening a 37-year-old man died after he lost control of his Jeep and drove off the road. The man died of his injuries before help arrived.

Temperatures rose in the night to Thursday. Thursday will be rainy and overcast throughout the country, temperatures are expected to reach 5°C with winds of up to 17 m/s inland and 20 m/s on the coast.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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