Road conditions in Iceland are very different to those in other countries, so it‘s very important to be well prepared and aware. The roads are narrower with very little shoulder space, so find a side road or wider space to pull out if you want to stop safely. Remember you are not alone on the road, even if it feels like that sometimes.
There are also gravel roads in Iceland and it is common that accidents happen when the road changes from tarmac to gravel. Reduce your speed when approaching a gravel road and slow down for oncoming vehicles. This helps to prevent stones flying into windscreens and skidding. The speed limit on paved roads outside urban areas is 90 km/h. Seat belt use for driver and passengers is required by law – your life may depend upon it, even in the back seat!
Drivers can be easily distracted by the beautiful landscapes and animal life along the way. Please remember to keep your attention on the road while driving at all times. Pulling over on the side of the main road is strictly forbidden and causes accidents.
Conditions on mountain roads can be very different to those in the lowlands, even along the paved Ring road. You will come across single-lane bridges, tunnels and roads on your travels around Iceland. The general rule is that the first vehicle to arrive has the right-of-way, so slow down and assess the situation. Blind rises and corners can be found in many places and should be approached with caution as lanes are not always separated.
You can expect livestock to be alongside the road or even on it – reduce speed immediately and use your horn. Be aware of lambs separated from mothers. Sheep are known to cross the road in front of oncoming cars sometimes. Highland driving sometimes requires crossing rivers with a 4×4 – there is no insurance cover for damage that can be linked to crossing rivers. The risk is yours!
Weather can be hazardous and unpredictable, so make sure you check alerts regarding weather on www.safetravel.is and www.road.is for road conditions/closures.
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