Driving In Iceland: A Complete Guide

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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’re going to know in this guide.

 

Which side do they drive in Iceland?

People drive on the right in Iceland. Unless you’re from England or left-road countries, you’ll fit right in. 

 

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 RentalCars.com to check for the best rates and options from different car rental companies. A big plus is that it offers 48-hour free cancelation in case you change your plan.

Read more: You can check my detailed car rental guide in Iceland here.

 

Best driving routes in Iceland

Here are some popular road trips in Iceland

  • Iceland’s Ring Road – Route 1
  • Golden Circle
  • Westfjords
  • Reykjanes Peninsula
  • Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Iceland mountain scenery.

 

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 roads are only suitable for a 4×4. There are one-lane bridges and bridgeless rivers.

It’s much more difficult to drive on F-marked roads in Iceland. Also, winter roads are challenging to drive, and you’ll need sufficient experience for 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 a gravel one. As a result, drivers don’t have time to slow the speed and lose control.

Blind hills can be very dangerous as well, 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. You should wait for the sheep to cross the other side. If your car hits an animal, you can expect to be held liable for it.

driving in Iceland foggy road.
You may not be able to see much with foggy weather.

 

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 generally lots of 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 you have to 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 Iceland 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.

Speeding fines

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 left 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%.
  • Your vehicle headlights must be on at all times, day and night when driving.
  • 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’re using 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.