We at Circle want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience exploring Iceland. We put a lot of emphasis on providing relevant and important information to ensure your safety on the road. Known as the land of fire and ice, Iceland offers travellers an adventure in a beautiful and rugged landscape but you also need to be familiar with some features of Icelandic roads that may be different than what you’re used to. Driving in Iceland can be an adventure by it self with gravel roads, narrow roads, hurricane like winds and one-lane bridges just name a few. Many accidents can be avoided if you only slow down, prepare you travels and approach these dangers with caution.
Because our customers’ safety is very important and we want you to have a wonderful experience when driving in Iceland, we have put together some useful information and tips.
NARROW ONE LANE BRIDGE
There are many narrow one-lane bridges in Iceland. They are marked with a sign EINBREID BRU. Reduce speed and only one vehicle can cross at a time.
REDUCE SPEED BEFORE ENTERING A ONE LANE BRIDGE
PAVED ROAD ENDS
Many rural roads in Iceland are gravel roads, not suited for fast speed. Please pay attention to the sign indicating the end of the paved road. And it shifts to a gravel road. It is imperative to reduce speed accordingly. Please drive carefully and always show other drivers’ consideration.
SLOW DOWN WHEN PAVED ROAD CHANGES TO GRAVEL ROAD
Blind crest or blind rise are ordinary in Iceland. Marked with a sign BLINDHÆÐ if one and BLINDHÆÐIR if many. Slow down and keep to the right since you will not see the approaching cars until very late.
REDUCE SPEED AND KEEP TO THE RIGHT
Before crossing a river or a water make sure that no other route is possible! Be extremely careful when crossing rivers or water as it can be dangerous and the simplest mistake can drown the car.
Drive very slowly but without hesitation so that water doesn’t reach and damage the engine or electrical system of the car. Use 1st or 2nd gear only, never take your foot of the gas and never apply the clutch in the middle of the river. Keep in mind that damages caused by water or river crossing aren’t covered by any insurances.
RIVER CROSSING IS DANGEROUS
Highland roads are only for selected 4×4 vehicles. Regular 2WD passenger cars are not suitable. Limited or no insurance covers damages on vehicles if they occur. The highland road system in Iceland opens up when road conditions allow. Please observe closures and opening times.
For further information on mountain road conditions and opening check website.
CAUTION IN A ROUNDABOUT
Roundabouts in Iceland are a common sight throughout the road system. Please observe that the inner circle / lane has the right away.
THE INNER CIRCLE HAS THE RIGHT AWAY
Please drive extra carefully on gravel roads. Many roads outside the urban areas in Iceland are gravel roads. The speed limit is lower on gravel roads for a good reason.
PLEASE SLOW DOWN ON GRAVEL ROADS
POSSIBILITY OF ANIMALS AHEAD
Animals are frequently on the road or near it in rural areas. Please be prepared for farm animals grazing by the roadside and straying into or crossing the road. Drivers who cause injury or death to such animals may be liable to claims for compensation.
SLOW DOWN WHEN YOU SEE ANIMALS NEAR THE ROAD
The general speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on gravel roads in rural areas and 90 km/h on hard-surfaced roads. Please note: special warning signs indicate danger ahead, such as sharp bends, narrow bridges, blind hill but there is generally no separate sign to reduce speed.
SPEED LIMIT VARIES BASED ON AREA AND TYPE OF ROAD
Be very careful when opening doors because they can easily be damaged by strong gusts or wind. Keep in mind that damages caused by wind blowing up the door are not covered by insurances. Also it can be dangerous to drive in ash & sandstorm. Roads can be slippery and soft. Please drive carefully. Special insurance is available. It is essential to check the weather forecast before you go on your trip.
BE CAREFUL WHEN OPENING DOORS IN HIGH WIND
According to Icelandic law everyone must wear a seat belt regardless of where they are seated in the car. Subject to a fine if not used.
While driving in Iceland, head- and tail lights are required to be on at all times, even in full daylight all year round.
When driving in Iceland through the Vadlaheidi tunnel and parking in Thingvellir and Skaftafell National Parks an AUTOMATIC charge is applied for using the tunnel and parking. Please pay attention to those charges. Failure to pay will result in higher parking and toll fee in addition to administration fee.
Pay the tunnel toll through the tunnel web site. For parking fee information see website.
The driver is responsible that all children in the car use appropriate child seats. Further information can be found on www.icetra.is
Infant car seat for 0-2 year old child (0-13 kg)
Car seat with internal harness for 1-4 years old child (9-18 kg)
Booster seat with a high back for 4-10 year old child (15-36 kg)
Backless booster seat. Only for children over 135 cm in height.
No, you can not make a right turn at a red traffic light.
It is forbidden to drive a motor vehicle in Iceland after drinking alcoholic beverages or under the influence of drugs. A heavy fine is applied to those who violate the law.
It is illegal to talk or text on your mobile phone while driving in Iceland. Stop the car if you have to use the telephone or use a hand’s free option like a bluetooth headset.
Off-roading is strictly forbidden in Iceland. The amazing Icelandic nature is sensitive so let’s treat with respect. F-Road and Off-road driving is not the same.
In the highlands on F-roads, 2WD vehicles are not allowed and are not insured on roads marked with “F” (All highland roads signs marked with an F, i.e. F26). This includes roads marked: Kaldidalur #550, Kjolur #135 and Landmannalaugar #208. Driving these roads on a 2WD will incur a fee.
There are two type of fuel in Iceland, diesel and petrol. Make sure to use the correct fuel type. Gasoline pumps are colored differently In Iceland than you might be used to. Gasoline is green colored and named Bensín. The Diesel nozzle often black colored and named Dísil. Filling up with the wrong kind of fuel is costly to correct and could damage the engine.
No insurance covers damages caused by misfuelling.
Be very careful when opening car doors because usually it is windy in Iceland and they can easily be damaged by strong gusts of wind. Keep in mind that damages caused by wind blowing up the door are not covered by insurances.
Although it makes a good picture, standing or sitting on the car can lead to costly repairs. No insurance covers damages to the rooftop.
Beware of getting too tired while driving and try to minimize driving in long hauls. Drive to a safe area away from traffic and re energize with a quick nap.
It is extremely dangerous and prohibited to stop your car in the middle of the road to take pictures. Drive to a safe place or a designated parking space. Choose your photo locations with safety in mind.
While driving in Iceland you may notice there are many speed cameras around Reykjavik, tunnel areas, and the Ring Road. Don’t get caught exceeding the speed limit. Auto generated speeding fine will be sent to you by the Police.
Information on road conditions is available via tel. 1777 (if problems use tel. +354 522 1100), which is open 08:00-16:00 in summer and 06:30-22:00 in winter.
All of our cars have the tools or a spare tyre in the back of the car to fix it and get going. If you can the easiest way would be to change or fix the tyre yourself. If you have any problems, please call us.
All our car have incident reports in the glove box. Please fill it out with the driver of the other car. It’s very important that you do this, this report could decide if you should pay for the damage or not. If you and the other driver do not agree on what happened it’s always best to call 112 and request the police.
Call our phone number +354 767 022 and we will help you any way we can.
112 is Iceland’s emergency number. Make sure to call 112 if you have an emergency which requires the assistance of police or ambulance.
Recommended websites when driving in Iceland