Stay safe on the roads this summer
The whole of Northern Norway takes to the roads during the summer months. Tourists come to enjoy the incredible scenery and the locals take their holidays too; there are festivals that draw in crowds, as well as regular bus services, lorries and other commercial traffic. This clogs up the roads, causes irritation amongst road users and occasionally leads to near-misses or even accidents. www.nordnorge.com spoke to Remi Johansen, Operations Manager at Nordland Police, to find out more and get some advice on how to stay safe when heading out in the North Norwegian summer.
Narrow, winding roads
The biggest problems occur away from the E6, the main north–south road through Norway. The main difficulties usually arise along the beautiful outer seaboard — on the coastal roads of Helgeland, Lofoten and Vesterålen, and on the coastal side of Senja. Here, the roads are narrow and winding and visibility is poor. Unforgettable sweeping panoramas await around every corner which just "have" to be photographed. On some sections, traffic increases by a factor of three or four during the hectic summer months, and the risk of accidents also rises sharply.
Keep your speed down and let other road users pass
If you are used to driving on straight, beautifully surfaced roads, you may not be very impressed by the coastal roads. Remi Johansen recommends that you keep your speed down — after all, the most important thing of all is to get to where you're going safely and in one piece. However, you should be considerate of the people behind you by pulling into passing places or lay-bys and letting them past when you can.
The local traffic doesn't stop
Local road users and drivers of commercial vehicles, vans and articulated lorries know the area like the back of their hand and drive at the speed limit. If they get stuck behind tourists who are pottering along without letting anyone past, they can get so frustrated by having to wait that they may take unnecessary risks. Lorry drivers in the Lofoten area say they take longer to get to their destination in dry summer conditions than they do on slippery winter roads. This causes frustration in the long run.
Sensible photo stops
The photo opportunities along the scenic roads are unending. Nevertheless, you should think carefully before pulling over to take some snaps. Find a sensible place to stop and check that your vehicle is parked safely before you head off to find a good spot to take photos.
More and more cyclists
The number of cyclists taking to the roads is continually increasing. Johansen urges cyclists to wear a hi-vis vest when cycling through tunnels and preferably to use their lights too. Cyclists must show consideration for car users and car users must show consideration for cyclists. Remi Johansen stresses that cyclists must remember that car traffic increases dramatically during the summer months and to keep to the right.
- The Norwegian Public Roads Administration posts traffic reports on its website
- For assistance in the event of an accident, call the Police's emergency phone number — 112