Nearly half of Finns slipped in the icy weather conditions of last winter, some taking a serious fall while others avoided injuries. One in four respondents to Liikenneturva’s survey admitted that anti-slip guards would have been useful on the slippery streets last winter. This winter is no exception. The Pysy pystyssä (‘Don’t fall’) campaign reminds people that being proactive and prepared helps them stay upright and makes moving from point A to point B go smoothly even in winter conditions.
According to a survey* by Liikenneturva (Finnish Road Safety Council), 44% of Finns slipped during the winter of 2022–2023. Luckily, most of them stated that they avoided any injuries. However, seven per cent of respondents injured themselves as a result of a fall.
Two out of five respondents wore anti-slip guards or studded shoes at least sometimes during the winter. It is noteworthy that every fourth survey respondent also admitted that they would have benefitted from using some form of anti-slip protection.
“It is not enough to keep the anti-slip guards or studded shoes in your closet – they need to be in use. It is quite human to think that I won’t be the one to fall, but this way of thinking should change. Accidents during commutes are most often slips or falls,” states Laura Loikkanen, a planning officer at Liikenneturva.
Good fitness level and being careful help stay upright
In addition to anti-slip guards or studded shoes, a good general state of health, muscle strength and balance contribute to staying upright no matter your age. Fresh air is beneficial in many ways. Staying indoors is not necessary even in icy conditions as long as you are prepared for them.
“In addition to maintaining your level of fitness, you should pay attention to your energy level When you are tired, your attentiveness decreases, and you become more prone to slipping. The use of any intoxicants also significantly increases the risk of falling,” says senior researcher Hanna Kettunen from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.
To whom should you give feedback in case of inadequate winter maintenance of routes and yards?
Well and timely executed winter maintenance is crucial in ensuring the safety and accessibility of yards, public outdoor areas, pedestrian and cycling routes for everyone. When routes and sidewalks are in good condition, everyone has equal chances for getting around during winter time, also without need of assistance. For example, snow banks and poorly executed winter maintenance may, in the worst case, prevent people who use mobility aids from getting out from their own home. These hindrances can also force them to take excessive detours or cause hazardous situations when crossing the junction.
“With functional and well-executed winter maintenance, we can ensure that everyone has as equal and fair chances as possible for getting around. It is also helps e.g. disabled people to stay active as well as prevent injuries caused by slipping. Keeping routes and yards clear of ice and snow, and also ensuring sufficient outdoor lighting during winter months, pays for itself quickly in the form of savings in medical expenses,” says accessibility specialist Ari Kurppa from the Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities.
The challenge of winter maintenance is that people do not have a clear understanding of who is responsible for the winter maintenance of a given area and to whom they can send their feedback. Even the winter maintenance of different areas of the same municipality may vary a great deal, which can impact accessible and safe mobility.
The local authorities are responsible for the maintenance of a municipality’s streets and access routes. You can give feedback directly through your municipality’s feedback channel. The local Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment are in charge of the maintenance of the State’s road network and public routes. If roads are in poor condition during winter, . In urgent matters, please contact the Road User’s phone line (24/7) directly by calling 0200 2100.
The winter maintenance of sidewalks in front of private plots or properties or access routes leading to them is the responsibility of the property owner or housing company, unless the local authorities have taken the responsibility over this.
The Pysy pystyssä campaign period is 11–18 January 2024
This year’s campaign theme is ‘Well, that went just as well as in Strömsö’. The theme strives to encourage people to anticipate the icy conditions occurring each year so that accidents can be prevented.
(Opens in a new window) (in Finnish)
(Opens in a new window) (in Finnish):
Planning Officer Laura Loikkanen, Liikenneturva Finnish Road Safety Council, +358 (0)20 7282 341
Senior Researcher Hanna Kettunen, National Institute for Health and Welfare, +358 (0)29 524 7582
Accessibility Specialist Ari Kurppa, Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities, +358 (0)50 430 7268
Campaign partners: Aivovammaliitto, EHYT Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention, Finance Finland, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities, the Finnish Road Safety Council, Luustoliitto, LähiTapiola, Nikander ja Wiinikka Oy, Partioaitta, the Finnish Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Finnish Red Cross, Taitavat Suutarit ry, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
*The survey for the Finnish Road Safety Council was implemented by Kantar Public in March 2023. During the survey, winter was still continuing in most of the country. The survey had a total of 1,073 respondents.