Driving in Iceland
Traveling in Iceland can be one of the greatest experiences you can have. Nevertheless, driving in Iceland's beautiful and rugged landscape contains challenges that you may not have come across before. Below you can find information on what to bear in mind when driving in Iceland to have an incident-free holiday.
- Within city limits 50 km/h unless otherwise stated
- Residential areas 30 km/h
- Paved rural roads 90 km/h*
- Gravel roads 80 km/h*
* The speed limits are frequently lowered temporarily in certain areas: In sharp turns, by single-lane bridges and in the vicinity of residential areas.
Seatbelts: Drivers and passengers are required by law to wear seatbelts, regardless of the type of vehicle or where they are seated.
Headlights required at all times: It is required that vehicle headlights are on at all times, day and night, when driving.
Mobile phones: The use of mobile phones while driving is forbidden without the use of proper hands-free equipment.
Driving under influence: It is against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Violating this law can result in hefty fines and evocation or suspension of a driving license.
Dangers on Icelandic roads
Slow down: When meeting other vehicles, especially when driving on a gravel road, it’s important to slow down. This also applies when the road’s pavement ends and gravel begins. Unfortunately, serious accidents occur each year in both of these circumstances, especially involving drivers with limited or no experience on Icelandic roads. If drivers lose control of the vehicle on a gravel road it can easily become impossible to regain control and the vehicle can easily skid out of the road.
Loose gravel and rocks: Icelandic gravel roads are narrow and you can risk gravel and rocks shooting from under passing vehicles and hitting your car. Remember that the same goes for your car. Slow down to limit the risk of your car being hit by gravel and rocks or that you cause damages to other vehicles. We offer Gravel Protection insurance that will limit your liability in case of an incident regarding loose gravel and rocks
Single-lane bridges: It is important to slow down well before driving over a single-lane bridge. The vehicle closer to the bridge has right of way and it’s important that the waiting vehicle gives way to the passing vehicle.
Blind hills: It is important to slow down and keep well to the right of the road.
Animals on the road: You can expect to encounter loose livestock by the roads. If you see livestock ahead of you on the road make sure you slow down and continue driving slowly until you have passed it.
Sudden weather changes: Weather can change rapidly in Iceland. It’s important to look at the weather forecast both before hitting the road and while traveling. Information on weather is accessible online at the Icelandic Meteorological Office's website or via telephone (+354) 902-0600
Road condition: Because of rain, wind, frost and other forces of nature, the condition of Icelandic roads can be very variable. Therefore it is important to keep both eyes on the road at all times.
Mountain roads (F-roads): Driving our normal vehicles on so-called "F-roads" (mountain roads) as well as "Kjölur" (road 35) and "Kaldidalur" (road 550) is strictly forbidden. A penalty fee applies if a rental vehicle in these car groups is driven on those roads.
Off-road driving: It is strictly forbidden to drive off-road. Such driving results in serious damage to sensitive vegetation, which may take nature decades to repair. Penalty fee applies if a rental vehicle is driven off-road.
In summer there is daylight 24 hours a day. Driving on a summer night can be a beautiful experience but don’t forget to stop and rest. Falling asleep while driving is dead serious.
In winter there is limited daylight and therefore it’s important to arrange your schedule according to the little daylight available.
In spring and autumn the sun is low on the horizon and important to wear sunglasses, use the cars sun visor and drive carefully.
For more information on safe driving in Iceland please visit Safetravel.is