Driving conditions in Iceland are in quite many ways unusual and often very unlike what non Icelandic drivers are accustomed to. It is therefore vital to find out how to drive in Iceland. We are well aware that the landscape is beautiful and can draw the driver's attention away from the road – so in order to reach your destination safely, you must keep your full attention while driving.
Look for the speed limit signs and always adjust your speed to the driving conditions. The general speed limit is 30 km/h in residential areas, 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on gravel roads in rural areas, and 90 km/h on asphalt roads. Kindly note that fines for speeding in Iceland can be enormous.
Driving rental cars on roads or tracks with no road number is forbidden. Passenger cars and 2wd vehicles are strictly forbidden on roads that are marked with an F on public road maps. This also applies to Kjölur (road nr. 35) and Kaldidalur (road nr. 550).
Crossing rivers is only allowed on 4x4 jeeps (SUV´s). Please ensure that the 4x4 drive has been engaged before driving into the water. Drive very slowly but steadily in first gear and use the low range if available. No insurance covers damages caused by driving in or across rivers or any kind of waterways.
It is important to drive according to conditions at all times.
Roads may be more slippery when wet, covered with sand, gravel or other such material.
Driving outside marked trails (off road) is stricktly forbidden and is subject to nature conservation law.
Motorists are obliged by law to use headlights at all times, day and night.
Passengers in the front and back seats of an automobile are required by law to use safety belts.
Icelandic law forbids any driving under the influence of alcohol.
Always take along a new, detailed map.
ALWAYS STAY ALERT WHEN:
Driving on gravel roads. The surface on the gravel roads is often loose, especially along the sides of the roads. Some of them can also be quite narrow so kindly show precaution when approaching another car coming from the opposite direction and move as far to the right as possible.
A paved road suddenly changes to gravel. Remember to reduce speed before the changeover.
Approaching blind hills that do not have separate lanes.
Coming near to blind curves. They are many in Iceland and test drivers skills.
Getting close to single lane bridges. The actual rule is that the car closer to the bridge has the right-of-way but it is wise to stop and see what the other driver plans to do.
Seeing livestock on or alongside the road. This is quite common and can be dangerous. Approaching a ewe on one side of the road and her lamb on the other side can prove to be risky as the scared lambs can suddenly decide to seek shelter on the otherside.
To check on road conditions please call 1777 or visit www.road.is (in English) To check the weather forecast please call 902 0600 or visit http://en.vedur.is/ (in English)