Iceland winter driving
Iceland winter driving may be different from what you are used to and many things may come as a surprise. Please note that you are responsible for checking road and weather during your trip and assessing if it is safe for you to travel.
Please read about driving on icy roads including black ice, patches of ice and icy gravel roads. During winter you can expect to drive in snow, sometimes in heavy snow and getting stuck in snow. You can avoid that by following the weather forecast, turn around sooner than later and by not entering roads that have been blocked. Please also be aware that during winter the sun in Iceland can be very low sometimes blinding drivers.
All Dollar Rent A Cars are equipped during winter with high quality, studded, winter tyres.
Driving on ice
Roads are often icy during winter in Iceland. Icy road require you to slow down. If your rental car starts to slide you should TAP THE BREAK GENTLY few times and stay calm.
It is important to NOT push the break to the floor because that might cause the tires to lock - loosing their ability to slow you down.
Driving on ice requires you to slow down and stay alert.
Black ice is INVISIBLE ICE and makes the roads extremely slippery. This can happen quite quickly when temperatures drop from just above zero to just below zero.
Black ice is invisible ice that is common when temperatures are around 0°C.
Patches of ice
While driving in Iceland the roads can be clear for miles but a small patch of ice on the road can cause a lot of damage.
It is therefore important that you stay alert while driving!
Stay alert while driving. Small patches of ice can be on the roads.
How to identify ice
1. Landscape – In flat areas chances of ice are greater than in areas with an incline. Chances of ice are also higher when you go higher up because temperatures are lower.
2. Weather – When skies and clear in twilight and during night chances of ice are higher. Nights are usually colder when the air is dry and dew and damp can cause ice on the road surface.
3. Proximity to water or sea – Roads that lie close to waters, rivers or sea have more chances of ice due to more dampness in the air.
4. Shelter – Roads that are sheltered by forests, cliffs etc. have higher chances of ice. Night-frost is more common in still weather than in wind.
5. The thermometer in the car – Please do not depend too much on the thermometer in the car as the temperature by the road can be different than the meter shows. When the meter shows 4-5°C in still weather please be alert and keep in mind that ice can be formed on the roads.
Icy gravel roads (unpaved roads) are dangerous
Gravel roads are not suited for fast driving. They can be icy during winter as well.
We ask you to drive carefully as driving on icy surfaces can be quite different than driving on dry surfaces.
Drive at a speed you feel comfortable and let other drivers pass you rather than trying to keep up with the speed of other drivers.
Slow down and pull out to the right side when a car comes from the opposite direction to reduce the risk of flying stones that can cause costly damage to the windshield and paint of the car.
Gravel roads during winter can be icy. Reduce your speed and drive carefully.
Blinded by the sun
During winter the sun sits VERY LOW and can be completely in the driver's line of sight.
Make sure that your windshield is as clean as possible and use sunglasses!
Then sun sits very low during winter in Iceland. Make sure to keep your windshield clean.
Driving in snow
When roads are snowy the road lines can be unclear but then yellow sticks mark where the road lies.
Snow removal services can be limited in certain areas and roads can be closed temporarily due to weather or road conditions.
Please remember to always check weather and road conditions before heading on the road.
Yellow sticks mark where the road lies if the road lines are unclear due to snow.
Do not enter roads with heavy snow as the vehicle will probably get stuck.
This will delay your trip. Cost of rescue is also high and can can cause costly damage to the vehicle.
Avoid roads with heavy snow as you will probably get stuck.
If stuck in snow
If you are stuck in snow -wiggle the car front and back without pressing the accelerator too hard and have someone push the car back and forth while you wiggle. Move as much snow away from the tires and from underneath the car as possible.
If you can not get the car loose, please call for help. NEVER LEAVE THE VEHICLE. The weather in Iceland can change quickly and can prevent you from finding the car again putting your life in danger.
If stuck in snow - wiggle the car front and back and have someone push the car while you wiggle.
In extreme road conditions, extreme weather or snow roads can be blocked temporarily. NEVER enter a road that is blocked as it can be dangerous and cause damage to your rental car.
Closed roads are not always blocked with signs. You should always check road and weather conditions before hitting the road.
Roads can be temporarily closed due to extreme road or weather conditions. Do not enter a blocked road.