Driving in Iceland

Have a safe journey.

Iceland offers the traveller an adventure in a beautiful and rugged landscape. However, experience shows that the forces of Icelandic nature can be harsh and inhospitable, and travellers are well advised to exercise caution and respect for the country's natural environment. Unfortunately, there have been accidents in the past few years involving foreign tourists travelling around the country. The most common type of accident is that of hikers losing their footing on uneven terrain. The more serious injuries, however, are caused by road traffic accidents where travellers drive too fast in unfamiliar conditions and do not wear seat belts. With every car rental packages you buy with Iceland Holidays you will receive a "Have a safe journey" brochure.

Most mountain roads and roads in the interior of Iceland have a gravel surface. The surface on the gravel roads is often loose, especially along the sides of the roads, so one should drive carefully and slow down whenever approaching an oncoming car. The mountain roads are also often very narrow, and are not made for speeding. The same goes for many bridges, which are only wide enough for one 32 car at a time. In addition to not having an asphalt surface, the mountain roads are often very windy. Journeys may therefore take longer than expected. For information on road conditions, tel.: +354-1777, daily 8:00–16:00. www.road.is. The total length of the Ring Road around Iceland (national highway) is 1,339 km. The general speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on gravel roads in rural areas, and 90 km/h on asphalt roads.

Please note:

Special warning signs indicate danger ahead, such as sharp bends, but there is generally no separate sign to reduce speed. Please choose a safe speed according to conditions. Motorists are obliged by law to use headlights at all times, day and night. In Iceland all driving off roads or marked tracks is prohibited by law. Passengers in the front and back seats of an automobile are equired by law to use safety-belts. Icelandic law forbids any driving under the influence of alcohol.

Filling stations:

In the Greater Reykjavík area most filling stations are open every day to 23:30. Opening hours around the country, where the pumps are privately operated, can vary from place to place. Many stations in the Reykjavík area and larger towns of Iceland have automats in operation after closing, which accept VISA and EURO credit cards as well as notes.

Opening of mountain tracks:

Most mountain roads are closed until the end of June, or even longer because of wet and muddy conditions which make them totally impassable. When these roads are opened for traffic they can only be negotiated by 4x4 vehicles. Please make sure when you reserve your National rent-a-car that the selected vehicle qualifies for such use. For some mountain tracks it is strongly advised that two or more cars travel together. Also, before embarking on any journey into the interior collect as much information as possible regarding road conditions from a travel bureau, tourist information office or the Public Roads Administration, tel.: +354-1777, daily 8:00–16:00, www.road.is. Always take along a detailed map.