Good Midsummer weather a traffic hazard

Midsummer Eve is the most dangerous day to be out on the roads in Sweden, with 60 traffic accidents last year. To make sure everyone reaches the maypole in one piece, the Transport Administration has issued traffic advice.

Good Midsummer weather a traffic hazard

Last year was a record low in terms of fatalities. One person lost their life over the Midsummer holiday period.

“That was a record. We have never experienced it before. It was better than a regular weekend,” Claes Tingvall, traffic safety director at the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket), told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

“But to beat last year’s record will be difficult. It was down to chance.”

On average, seven people lose their lives over the Midsummer weekend in Sweden.

And while most Swedes obsess about the chance of nice weather, Tingvall told the Norrbottens-Kuriren newspaper that good weather means people might go out for a casual drive at night, which was not recommended.

Above all, Tingvall said, Swedes should avoid the Midsummer Eve’s traffic if possible, instead heading to their families or summer houses early on Midsummer Day.

The bigger highways, all with the letter E in their name to signify a European highway, will be experiencing higher than normal traffic in the south of the country.

The Transport Administration in particular predicts increased traffic along the coastal highways, such as the E6 and the E45.

Elodie Pradet

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IN PICTURES: Thunderstorms hit trains and roads in southern Sweden

Severe thunderstorms and heavy winds on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning have delayed trains and disrupted road traffic across southern Sweden, according to the Swedish Transport Administration.

IN PICTURES: Thunderstorms hit trains and roads in southern Sweden
A lightning bolt spreads out over the sea at the Scaniabadet swimming area in Malmö on Tuesday night. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
“There was a huge amount of lightening over night and this morning, and that knocked out the power systems,” Katarina Wolfram, a press spokesperson for the Agency told the DN newspaper. “On several stretches, barriers are down at level crossings even though there is no train coming.” 
Lightning strikes near the Turning Torso in Malmö's Western Harbour district. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
The routes between Hässleholm and Kalmar, Karlskrona and Kalmar, and Värnamo and Alvesta have all been affected.
Wolfram said it had been difficult to carry out repairs in the morning as there was still a risk of lightning strikes. 
“Lightning and working on electrical faults are not the best combination, so we are not sending out personnel to areas where there are still thunderstorms,” she said. 
The administration expects normal traffic to resume after midday. 
According to Sweden's state weather forecaster, parts of northern Skåne received as much as 24mm of rainfall on Tuesday night, while a photographer for the TT newswire took spectacular photos of forked lightning in the skies of Malmö.
The storm front is now moving north towards Östergötland in central Sweden. 
Lightning in the skies above Malmö on Tuesday night. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT