Jarle Wæhler/Statens Vegvesen

Top tips to keep safe on Northern Norwegian roads this summer

Northern Norway is a truly beautiful place. So beautiful in fact that it would be easy to become distracted and drive off the road. Of course, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable holiday, so here are some simple tips to help you enjoy the stunning scenery along the roads of Northern Norway this summer in safety.

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. We 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.

Roads can be narrow and winding

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.

Practical information on driving in Northern Norway this Summer

The Statens Vegvesen webpage has all you need to know about dirving in Norway.

The emergency numbers are as follows:
Police 112
Ambulance 113
Fire service 110

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.

Take 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 are using the roads

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.