Road maintenance in the winter

Winter maintenance requirements apply when there are winter conditions (snow, ice etc.) on the roads.

Wintertime road maintenance works:

  • snow control with front and side plows and base blades;
  • de-icing with a spreader;
  • mechanical roughening with tenon or net blades.

Three condition levels are used on national roads.

Highest condition level

The highest condition level or condition level divides into two - level “3+” and level “3”. There are 1,638 km of level “3+” roads and 1,649 km od level “3” roads. These are the major national roads: Tallinn–Narva, Tallinn–Tartu–Võru–Luhamaa, Tallinn–Pärnu–Ikla, support roads and a few secondary roads that have more traffic.

The road surface or at least tire tracks are free of snow and ice.

Snow control is conducted within 5 hours after a snowfall or blizzard has ended, at the latest.

The thickness of critical fluffy snow must not exceed 4 cm, the thickness of critical wet snow 2 cm.

De-icing is conducted at the level "3+" within 2 hours and at the level "3" within 4 hours after slipperiness has occurred, at the latest.

Even in the best wintertime weather conditions might not ensure the same driving conditions as there are in the summer. At the speed of 90km/h, braking distance is at least 60 metres, and even longer when going outside of the driving tracks. It is wise to avoid overtaking and other sudden manoeuvres. When giving way at a pedestrian crossing, drivers should slow down in advance.

Fotol tee, mis vastab kõrgema seisunditaseme nõuetele

Medium condition level

The medium condition level or condition level “2” is applied on 4,490 km of national roads. Most support roads and some secondary roads that get a lot of traffic are maintained at this condition level. 

De-icing is conducted, but roads might not be clear of snow and ice.

Snow control is conducted within 12 hours after a snowfall or blizzard has ended, at the latest.

The thickness of critical fluffy snow must not exceed 8 cm, the thickness of critical wet snow 4 cm.

De-icing is conducted within 8 hours after slipperiness has occurred, at the latest.

Braking distance is at least 100 metres. Braking distance might be significantly longer when drifting to the icy or snowy part of the road. In the case of a curvier road and poor visibility, it is wise to avoid driving in the tracks that have been cleared out in the middle of the road, as it is complicated to return to the line in the case of an oncoming vehicle. Every sudden manoeuvre comes with a risk of losing control over the car, as the road is more slippery next to the driving tracks then it is inside the tracks.

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Lowest condition level

There are 8,828 km of roads (the majority of national roads) that are maintained at the lowest, condition level “1”.

De-icing is conducted, but roads might not be clear of snow and ice. 

Snow control is conducted within 24 hours after a snowfall or blizzard has ended, at the latest.

The thickness of critical fluffy snow must not exceed 10 cm, the thickness of critical wet snow 5 cm.

De-icing is conducted within 12 hours after slipperiness has occurred, at the latest.

Braking distance is up to four times as long when compared to road conditions in the summer, at least 150 metres when driving at a speed of 90 km/h. If the road happens to be wet, for example, after a rainfall, the braking distance will become even longer.

Fotol tee, mis vastab madalama seisunditaseme nõuetele

Last updated: 04.02.2021