Driving in Iceland

When driving between regions you will often have to drive through mountain passages or heaths. These are usually the most dangerous part of your way since the weather in the mountains can be much worse than down by the seaside. When you do get into heavy snow or a snowstorm try to follow the sticks on the sides of the roads, they will keep you on the road until you get to better driving conditions. If you are caught in Icelandic storm, the rule number one is never leave your vehicle.

But what to do when driving on ice/snow and you lose control of the car? As soon as you feel you do not have control of the car, take your foot of the gas pedal. Be sure, whatever you do, not to hit the brakes because it would increase your sliding.

Always check the road conditions

The weather is not the same in different regions of Iceland. The west Iceland is usually milder while the north and western fjords get more snow. Here below are good websites to use when traveling in Iceland in winter. Vedur.is is the official website for weather in Iceland. But it doesn’t always give the right picture road.is, the website for the Icelandic Road Administration,  is the best website to use if you use it right.

How to use Road.is

vegagerdin vestur

The web page road.is presents overview maps showing road conditions and the current situation for all main roads at a given point. The pages also provide information about the weather and the local traffic and show real-time Webcam images of road conditions. If you are unsure then you can call 1777 and ask for the conditions (open 06:30-22:00) or 1778 an automatic telephone service open all day.

Weather signs

If coming across a weather sign, please read the information given carefully.
Óveður means storm. On the road ahead the weather is very bad and you should avoid driving further if possible. Find a place to rest until the weather clears unless there is an emergency
On the signs you can see the temperature, average wind and the strongest wind.
Lokað means closed. The road ahead is closed and you should not continue. Find a place to rest until the weather clears.

Weather Sign

If the average wind goes over 20 you should take special precautions.

 

Equipment for winter trips in Iceland

Cars must be fitted with good winter tires. Take along appropriate protective clothing in case your have to wait in the car due to weather or road condition. And of course your phone can be your best friend if you get in to trouble emergency number is 112. You should also check out the 112 Emergency App.

F-roads / Mountain roads in Iceland

F-roads are mountain roads in the highland of Iceland. The roads can be closed any time of year, depending on road conditions. We do not recommend driving on F-roads over the wintertime and most of them are closed. Some superjeep companies offer tours over F-Roads in winter but those tours are operated in specialized vehicles by expert guides.

Gas stations in Iceland

Gas stations are all over the country, no worries. Many of the gas stations around the country are self-service so bring your debit or credit card and make sure you remember the pin number to be able to use it. The website GSM bensín tells you the price of fuel in gas stations around the country.

Speed limits in Iceland.

The general speed limit is 30-50 km/hour in populated areas, 80 km/hour on gravel roads in rural areas and 90 km/hour on paved roads. Drivers and all passengers are required by law to wear seatbelts. Older children must wear seatbelts and younger children and infants must be seated in car-safety seats. If you are caught speeding in Iceland you can expect hefty fines so our advice is to follow the law.

Off road driving is illegal in Iceland!

For more information about traveling safely in Iceland, visit safetravel.is