Iceland is famous for its network of roads carved through mountains and hills. The majority of roads in the country has an asphalt surface. However, there are a few roads mostly located outside the city which have a gravel surface which makes it imperative that you drive slowly. While the mountain roads are well built and regularly maintained it is strongly advised that you drive slow on these roads. Drivers may experience some wind at times when driving which can slow down the journey. Overall though driving in Iceland is easy and a pleasurable experience which makes renting a car a good idea.
To find out more about existing road conditions when you are in Iceland call 1777 from 8:00 to 16:00or visit www.road.is.
Renting a car
Regardless, of if you are travelling from across the border or from across the Atlantic your car rental quote will include Motor Vehicle Insurance. In addition many car rental services will also include collision damage waiver, third party liability as well as theft protection. There is also an option for you to add more insurance but which may increase the price slightly.
Important points to bear in mind
- Drivers will drive on the right of the road but overtake on the left.
- The roads clearly display international road signs.
- When at 4 way intersections, the car on the right has first priority. The same goes for traffic circles where cars on the inside lane have first priority to move.
- The speed limit in town is between 30 – 60 km/hr. The speed on tarmac roads is around 80km/hr to 90 km/hr.
- There are some roads where the public is not allowed. These are areas covered with fauna and flora. Driving on these roads will carry a fine. Generally, it is a goo idea not to drive on marked roads.
- Seat belts should be strapped at all times.
- If you have kids under six make sure that they are strapped into a special car seat.
- The driver will be responsible for passengers under the age of 15 not wearing seatbelts.
- Talking on your mobile phone while driving is strictly prohibited. Use a hands free unit if you wish to talk on the phone while driving.
- People less than 140 centimeters in height, under 40 kilograms, or under the age of 12 are not
- Warning signs and safety belt requirements
A specific aspect of the Icelandic roads is that they do not have a “decrease speed” sing. However, whenever you encounter a sign indicating “danger ahead” you should always reduce speeds. The same should be applied when you encounter signs that note varying meteorological conditions. Also, all passengers inside a car are required by law to use the safety belts. And, of course, no driving while inebriated should be attempted as it is illegal.
The area around Reykjavík will allow one to find gas stations at various intervals, but, given the geography of the region, it is very important to always have your tank full, as you can‘t count on gas stations being as dense as in other parts. In terms of availability, most of the stations will operate until 11.30 PM but for the most part, the privately operated gas stations might have different opening hours. If possible, carry an emergency canister with you at all times.
Finding your way around
A safe trip in Iceland is a question of finding your whereabouts, so, whether you use a GPS system or rely on the road maps that can be offered to you by the tourist offices, or bookstores or other places, you need to make sure you can read a map and that you always have one around.