Traveling by car is the best way to explore Iceland. If it’s your first time visiting here, you may have several questions about driving in Iceland.
Well, that’s exactly what you will know in this guide.
Which side do they drive in Iceland?
People drive on the right in Iceland. You’ll fit right in unless you’re from England or left-road countries.
Renting a car in Iceland
While the car rental fee in Iceland is much more expensive than in other countries, it’s the best way to discover the country.
Also, some parts of Iceland can only reach by car, and you have so much freedom and flexibility with a car.
I use Discover Cars to check for the best rates and options from different car rental companies. You can select your pickup location at Reykjavik airport.
Best driving routes in Iceland
Here are some popular road trips in Iceland
- Iceland’s Ring Road – Route 1
- Golden Circle
- Reykjanes Peninsula
- Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Is driving in Iceland easy?
How is driving in Iceland? You may wonder.
Driving in Iceland can be challenging, but it depends on the roads and the seasons.
Most Iceland roads are two lanes, and some are only suitable for a 4×4. There are one-lane bridges and bridgeless rivers.
It’s much more challenging to drive on F-marked roads in Iceland. Also, winter roads are challenging to drive, and you’ll need sufficient experience in driving in snow and ice.
Is driving in Iceland dangerous?
Yes, it is dangerous to drive in Iceland.
The most common accidents occur when a paved road suddenly changes to gravel. As a result, drivers don’t have time to slow their speed and lose control.
Blind hills can also be very dangerous, and blind curves in Iceland surely test your skill.
There is also livestock such as sheep, horses, or even cows on your path or alongside the road.
It would be best if you waited for the sheep to cross the other side. You can expect to be held liable for your car hitting an animal.
What are F-roads in Iceland?
F-roads are mountain or highland roads that are not regularly maintained.
They are open from late June or early July until September or October. They have big rocks, potholes, rivers without bridges, and many difficulties.
F-roads are only suitable for 4WD vehicles (A four-wheel drive). You’ll even need a big SUV for some F-roads, and a few are not passable without specialized “monster truck” type vehicles with huge tires such as 35″ or 38″.
If you plan to drive on F-roads, research that specific road and check out the rivers that you must cross and the depths. Some rivers you can’t cross at all.
Single-lane bridges in Iceland
There are many single-lane bridges on the Icelandic Ring Road, and they can be challenging to drive if you’re unfamiliar.
The rule is that the closer vehicle has the right-of-way. You should slow down and assess the situation before crossing.
Driving in the winter
For driving in Iceland in the winter, you should have experience driving in snow and ice.
Also, be aware that some roads in Iceland are closed for days due to snowstorms and harsh environments.
You should rent a 4×4 vehicle when driving in the winter. Check the weather forecast and road conditions before your travel!
The speed limit for driving in Iceland
The speed limit in populated areas is usually 50 km/h. Usually, speed limit signs are not posted unless other speed limits apply.
On highways, the speed limit is often 60 km/h. In residential areas, it is usually only 30 km/h.
In rural areas, gravel roads have a speed limit of 80 km/h, and paved roads 90 km/h.
You may see traffic signs (white numbers on a blue square background) indicating the recommended maximum speed in some areas.
There’re speed enforcement cameras on the roads, and speeding fines can reach over a hundred thousand ISK.
It is also important to note that you will have to pay the fine even if you leave Iceland.
Road rules in Iceland
Here are some rules you should know when driving in Iceland.
- People drive on the right in Iceland.
- Don’t drink and drive, or you may face severe penalties. The blood alcohol limit is 0.05%.
- When driving, your vehicle headlights must be on at all times, day and night.
- It is strictly forbidden to drive off-road. It’s an illegal offense, and you can be fined.
- Front and rear seat belts are compulsory.
- Children must either wear seatbelts or be in car safety seats.
- Children under six years must use a car seat.
- Mobile phone use is prohibited when driving unless you use a hands-free kit.
- If you cause any fatal accident due to reckless behavior, such as speeding or drunk driving, you will likely be charged with manslaughter. Also, insurance companies can make you liable for any damage caused by you.