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The Day Helsinki Stood Still – Snow Chaos With Video

Antti Kautonen February 3, 2012 Finnish Line, Terrible Ideas 11 Comments

Oh damn.

I’m not proud to post these photos and the accompanying video, but here’s proof that ruthless snow blizzards can befuddle even Finns – yes, even the country known from its rally heroes can sometimes manage to lose the plot behind the wheel when the elements are against you. Even with proper snow tires.

Due to a sudden snowstorm, there were some 240 collisions over the course of one day. Luckily, there were no fatalities today, as the last time something similar happened on the freeways leading to and from Helsinki in 2005 three people died. It all can all be summed up shortly: If the weather’s tough and visibility is zero, do not speed or tailgate – or slam the brakes in panic. It’ll just get expensive.

Even the (these days mostly flaky) public transport went completely haywire, with bus schedules abandoned, trains running even later than usual and trams ending up queueing on the street by the dozen. Still, official announcements by the powers-that-be were to the effect of “Just leave your car at home, or at work. Just don’t attempt to drive anywhere today.”

Make the jump for more photos of the carnage.

Yeah, a Sisu Pasi XA-180 APC hitting a bus makes for spectacular damage. On the ground is oil, not blood.

Here’s video (in English, some NSFW language, worth watching for the domino effect)


Me? Hell, up here halfway across the country it’s been beautiful and crystal-clear all day. I count myself lucky.

[Source: Helsingin Sanomat / Ilta-Sanomat | Livestreamfinland | some random dude on Facebook (headline image)]

  • Walter R. Moore

    We just had the Florida version of this – thick smoke at night from a fire in Paynes Prarie outside Gainesville, FL – 75 cars damaged and 11 dead. We're real idiots about driving in low visibility down here since it is very uncommon.. we get combined smoke and fog now and then, and driving rain..

    • I read about that, and it's tragic. I lived in Florida as a kid, and I know what the roads look like when the piney woods are on fire, and it's scary. You just can't see. Bad.

  • JayP2112

    I can't bring myself to watch the video.
    Thank goodness no one was killed.

  • Irishzombieman

    Usually I watch snowy road pileup videos sort of hypnotized, fascinated at the spectacle of disaster in slow motion.

    Not this one. This one scared the crap out of me. Yeek. Glad everyone was still breathing when it was over.

  • HSA

    The blizzard must have come out of the blue for most drivers. Sometimes it's just too hard to realize how abruptly the driving conditions can change. I live just 100 miles north of the location and we had the best possible winter driving conditions, with excellent visibility and no signs of slipperiness whatsoever. Having just driven literally around the town, I couldn't believe my ears as the news broadcast on the radio told about huge pile-ups and hospitals operating at elevated readiness. This is probably the first time since 2005 something like this took place in Finland. Yes, it can happen here too.

  • TurboBrick

    It's not the tires, it's the 25ft visibility when you're still doing 75mph. I've driven through blizzards and Florida tropical downpours and I will say that the blizzards were less scary. Those rainstorms just come out of nowhere and you can't see anything, just slow down to 20, put your hazards on and try to maintain some kind of faint visual contact with the car in front of you.

  • $kaycog

    I've never cringed so much as when I watched this video. The sounds of metal crunching metal are unbelievable.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Cars make bad accordians.

  • m3gaor3n

    [youtube y3fm-CTEc68 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3fm-CTEc68 youtube]