Safety on roads.

Listen to or read the most important rules to keep in mind while driving in Iceland
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Driving in Iceland - P1
01:52
Driving in Iceland - P2
01:38
Driving in Iceland - P3
00:50
Highland Driving
03:42

Listen here.

You can listen to the rules of safe driving in Iceland here. You can find even more information and answers to your questions on the website.
Read the transcript.

Here are important messages regarding your safety on Icelandic roads. Conditions in Iceland are unusual and unlike what foreign drivers are accustomed to. Please stay safe and take the time to familiarize yourself with special Icelandic conditions by listening to this message, specially made for rental cars. We recommend that all passengers traveling together listen to this message.

When planning your trip please look up weather and road conditions on www.road.is. If a road is marked closed, then you cannot pass it under any circumstances. Don’t risk your life and safety by driving on a closed road.

Drivers and all passengers must wear seatbelts – it is required by law. It’s the best safety equipment that you have to protect yourself in a car crash. Children are also required to wear seatbelts or be placed in car seats, depending on their height and weight.

It is strictly forbidden to stop in the middle of the road or at the roadside you should always find a safe place or outlet to stop at.

All use of mobile phones is strictly prohibited while driving. In order to reach your destination safely, you must keep full attention on driving.

Pay close attention to speed limits. In populated areas the speed limit is usually 50km/h, in residential areas it‘s 30km/h and on throughways in Reykjavik it varies between 60-80km/h. In rural areas and on the highway the speed limit is 90km/h, but on gravel roads it‘s 80km/h. These are the maximum speed limits for good driving conditions, however speed should be reduced if driving conditions are poor.

According to Icelandic law both head- and taillights are required to be ON at all times, night and day, all year round.

When approaching a gravel roads it’s important to reduce speed so you won’t lose control of the vehicle. Show caution when approaching a car from the opposite direction by staying as far to the right as possible. There are special traffic sign in Iceland that indicate that you are approaching a gravel road and must slow down.

During summer in Iceland there is daylight both day and night. This can be very dangerous and risks drivers falling asleep while driving. Therefore it’s important to take frequent breaks from driving and take a rest if you become tired.

When approaching a single lane bridge - reduce speed. The first car that approaches has the right to cross. However, it’s wise to stop and assess the situation every time. In Iceland we have a special traffic sign that indicates that a single lane bridge is ahead.

Blind crest, hills and curves, where lanes are not separated, should be approached with caution. Please keep to the far right side of the road and reduce speed. A white arrow on a blue sign refers to the lane you should drive on. In Iceland we have a special traffic sign that indicates that you are approaching a blind crest and should keep to the far right side of the road.

It’s common to see livestock at roadsides when driving on the highway. In such circumstances speed should be reduced as the livestock tends to act unexpectedly and might run on to the road.

In roundabouts, right-of-way goes to the driver on the inside lane. Always use the turn signal when exiting. Be careful not to switch lanes inside the roundabout or when exiting.

It’s illegal to drive off-road in Iceland and will lead to fines. You should only drive on roads and marked trails. Whilst traveling around the country you must show great respect for the environment.

It’s against the law to operate a vehicle in Iceland after having consumed alcohol or other intoxicants and the penalties for violating these laws are severe.

You will find the following useful links below the sound player in this message.

www.road.is

(for weather and road conditions)

www.safetravel.is

(for travel plans and other useful information)

www.drive.is

(For special traffic signs and videos)

Thank you for listening - we wish you a safe and pleasant trip. If you are driving a 4x4 vehicle and plan to travel to the Icelandic highlands, please listen to the important highland travelers message following:

Whilst traveling around the country you must show great respect for the environment. Icelandic nature is extremely fragile as the seasons change quite dramatically and changes in temperatures are common! It’s good to remember to take nothing except photographs and leave nothing behind except footprints.

It is illegal to drive off-road in Iceland. Only stay on roads and marked trails. High fines or imprisonment can be expected for such violations!

Preparation – check out the road map and see where the roads and trails are. (www.road.is for road conditions)

Get information about the appropriate routes at visitor centers or from rangers or staff in the area.

By uprooting or driving on moss, you can cause serious damage that can take nature decades to recover from!

If you come to a point where you can’t go any further by driving – turn around or continue a short way on foot while leaving a note in your vehicle where you state the time of your intended return.

Highland driving is very popular during the summertime. However it requires a whole different set of skills than normal driving. Conditions can change even more rapidly than on lowlands and roads often require you to cross unbridged rivers. Roads can be rough and you may not reach speeds much over 40 km/h so make sure you plan for enough time. Because of this it’s extremely important to gather information about the area you are travelling over and leave a detailed Travel Plan at www.safetravel.is.

Start by checking if roads leading to the area are open or not. Check the road conditions.
Make sure to check the weather forecast for the area while keeping in mind that it can change rapidly so prepare for all kinds of weather.
For detailed information check information centers in the area, or check with rangers and wardens.
Make sure that you have the proper knowledge and experience for driving in the highlands.
A small vehicle has no business into the highlands – a 4×4 (4WD) with good ground clearance is required at all times!
Driving in the highlands will inevitably lead you to a river crossing. Keep the following things in mind:
There’s no insurance that covers any damage that can be lead to crossing rivers or any body of water. The risk is yours and damages can cost thousands of euros/dollars.
Do not cross a river unless you are a 100% sure you will be be able to get to the other side – if you’re unsure, wait for the next car to come by and discuss if you can go or not.
The current and depth of the rivers changes rapidly according to glacial melt and precipitation. Keep in mind that rivers can become impassable after a heavy rainfall.
Be sure of the route you are going to take before entering the water.
Put your car in a low-gear and cross the river slowly (5 km/h) and steady – do not switch gears while in the water!
Always try to go down stream as going against the current will increase the risk of water going into your engine.
Even the smallest of rivers have lead to some costly damages simply because of the drivers choosing the wrong routes or going too fast.
Do NOT enter the river where it seems calm – this is a sign of depth and is not the ideal spot to cross.
Do not be fooled by big modified vehicles. They can cross the rivers at higher speeds because they are equipped with a snorkel – allowing the air intake of the engine to be at a higher point than on normal vehicles.

Thank you for listening

- we wish you a safe and pleasant trip.

Icy roads - winter.

Icy road has caused a great number of accidents. Roads in Iceland are often very icy in wintertime, even if you don´t see it. Please lower speed and drive accordingly.

Conditions during the winter time are entirely weather dependent. Along with the Road Conditions make sure to check the Weather Forecast . Look out for winds that exceed 15 m/s as mountainous areas could produce very strong wind gusts! The forecast must be checked every day as even though the forecast reaches up to 5 days in advance, rapid changes are very common!

Even though the speed limit says 90 km/h – it doesn’t mean that it’s appropriate during winter conditions. Make sure you reduce your speed accordingly.

Not all parts of Iceland are accessible during the winter time. Most of the highlands are only accessible during the summer so keep in mind that you can not pass under any circumstances if the road is closed.