River crossing in Iceland

If you decide to drive in the highlands in Iceland you might encounter some unbridged rivers. Crossing rivers in vehicles requires special knowledge and is not recommended. If you decide to cross any of these rivers the renter has complete responsibility for all damages that can be caused by doing so (see terms and conditions) unless purchasing the River ford crossing (RFC) protection and following the river crossing guidelines.

Crossing rivers is not recommended. Why?

We advise our customers to avoid crossing unbridged rivers. Crossing rivers requires:

  • Special driving technique
  • Knowledge about where to cross the river
  • Knowledge about the conditions of the riverbed

It can be dangerous to cross rivers for you and everyone travelling with you. The rental car could also suffer damage which is very expensive. If your rental car suffers damage in the process that will delay your trip.

I understand the risks of crossing rivers but how do I do it?

1. Drive slowly

The most common mistake drivers make when crossing rivers is going to fast. You should drive slowly. SLOWLY MEANS 4 KM/H. Driving too fast through the river the water will be lifted above the engine cover (bonnet) and the front grille. This results in water flowing into the engine of your rental car, shutting it down. This causes the vehicle to "drown" in the river.

Do not underestimate the river. Even the shallowest rivers can cause water flowing into the engine and shutting it down IF YOU DRIVE TOO FAST.

2. Cross over a ford

If you decide to cross a river it is very important that you choose your crossing point carefully. Water depth should not go over 50% of the wheel and you should be able to walk over the ford without the water going over your knees.

  • DON'T DRIVE UP-STREAM. THE WATER WILL BE LIFTED HIGHER OVER THE ENGINE. That will increase the chances of water flowing into the engine and shutting the car down.