Iceland Driving

Iceland driving is a unique experience. Outstanding scenery. Beautiful nature. Unpredictable roads.

Click for information about winter driving in Iceland on winter tyres. Read on for general information about driving in Iceland.

Please take the time to watch the Video here below which includes very important information regarding possible conditions in Iceland and things you need to be avare of.

Seat belts and Drivers licenses

As required by Icelandic Law seatbelts must be worn by all passengers at all times regardless of where they are seated in the vehicle. Fatal accidents are on the rice due to tourists not wearing them.
Drivers licenses are required when driving in Iceland. Your national drivers license is sufficient.

Do not drive tired!

In the summer sun when its always bright outside it is understandable you want to use all the time you can. But please be careful and make sure to rest when driving a long way. We also offer an additional driver for low cost so you can add on an extra driver during your trip so you can enjoy your travel to the fullest.

It is very dangerous for both you and others if you fall asleep under the steering wheel.

Headlights always on !

It is important for your safety that you keep the headlamps lit 24 hours a day while driving.

Make sure that you have the lights lit in the rear side of the vehicle to. In many new vehicles there is an AUTO setting but in most cases the rear lights are not on with this setting. Please use the blue circled setting here below. The headlamp settings often look similar to this either located on the left side of the steering wheel or on the indicator stick on the left side. 

Road side stopping

There are increasing problems and accidents on the rise due to tourists who stop on the roadside to take photos or pet animals. 
This is extremely unsafe, illegal and dangerous to you and passengers in other cars heading your way. ALWAYS find a safe place to park in a designated parking lot if you intend to take photos.  
Farmers are also very angry due to tourists petting and feeding their animals who are inside a fence. This can cause them problems as the animals can be harder to tame. 

There was a recent fatal accident due to a tourist stopping on the roadside !

Speed limits

  • 50 km/h in urban areas (some streets 30 km/h)
  • 70 km/h in most road tunnels
  • 80 km/h on gravel roads
  • 90 km/h on paved (asphalt) roads

When driving in poor weather or on a rough road you might to drive slower than the above. Please note that speed cameras are also located on many roads and always in road tunnels. Speeding fines are costly an can go over 100.000 ISK.

Different road conditions

We urge you to be careful during your Iceland driving. Road conditions can vary considerably and be rough to drive. Special care should be taken when driving the rent a car on gravel roads, F-roads or when crossing rivers which is not recommended. The Icelandic sheep, reindeers and other farm animals can also surprise you by suddenly crossing the road.

Gravel roads

Gravel roads are to find in many places around Iceland. Gravel roads require the complete attention of the driver and are not suitable for fast driving. When a car comes from the other direction please slow down and pull out to the right side of the road. This can reduce risk of costly damage from flying stones. 

Narrow roads and one-lane bridges

For safe Iceland driving in your rent a car, you may have to rely more than usually on your good sense and judgement. Most of the roads are narrow even though the main Ring road, is mostly paved and easy to drive. When encountering one-lane bridges or entering gravel roads extra caution is needed.

Many bridges in the rural area are one-lane bridges only allowing one car to pass at a time. Before entering please make sure that no one is entering from the other side. 
There was a recent fatal accident due to drivers entering a narrow bridge at the same time.

Animals on the Road

In the summer time it is common that you see animals grazing by the roadside and straying into or crossing the road. Drivers who cause injuries or deaths of those animals can be liable to claims for compensation for the animal. Sheep are most common but you can also see cows or horses near farms and reindeers in the eastern part of Iceland. 
If an animal is killed in a collission please contact the nearest farm so the animal can be taken care of.

Navigation

Mobile phone connection can be unstable in rural areas, so please do not rely on the mobile as a safety measure. A good GPS device is recommended and available for rent at Dollar Rent A Car Iceland. Although we advice you to have an active cell phone on at all times since towns or other service outlets can be far away if you need assistance of some sort.

Open and closed roads

Before planning a trip to the highland, make sure that smaller roads, gravel tracks and F-Roads are open and please be sure that you have the appropriate vehicle for such a trip. You can always check if roads are open or closed on the website www.roads.is. Some tracks may be passable by larger 4x4s only. Driving off designated roads or tracks is illegal in Iceland.

Iceland driving on the right side

Iceland driving is on the right side of the road (left hand driving).

Crossing unbridged rivers

Even small rivers can turn out to be very dangerous and can cause a very expensive damage to your rental vehicle. The renter is liable for the repair unless buying a specific insurance; River Ford crossing protection (RFC) AWD/4x4 vehicles only. 

Crossing rivers requires special driving technique and knowledge about where it is best to cross and the condition of the riverbed. You need to find the correct ford, water depth should not be higher than 50 % of the wheel and you should drive SLOWLY. Slowly means about 4 km/h.

Does anyone know where you are going?

We urge you to leave your travel plan with someone in case of an emergency. It is possible to leave your travel plan with www.safetravel.is 

We also recommend downloading the 112 ICELAND app. The app sends a text to the Icelandic Emergency service 112, with the phone's GPS location, before calling 112. If used properly, it will enhance the security of the user by providing vital information.

UNIQUE ICELAND ROAD SIGNS