10 things you should know about driving in Iceland
Wondering how to drive in Iceland, what is consider the do‘s and don‘ts for driving in Iceland. Here belove you can find your ultimate guide to driving in Iceland. Also how to drive safely in Iceland. Fastening your seatbelt is not one of these things, because I feel like I shouldn’t have to mention it, the seat belt should always be fastened before and while driving, doesn’t matter whether you are in your personal car or a bus. In Iceland, you can face a fine if you don’t have your seatbelt fasten.
1. How to use lights when driving in Iceland.
Doesn’t matter which season of the year it is, whether it’s bright or dark you always need to have the lights on, that is mandatory by law. If you don’t turn your light’s on you can face a fine. Also important to remember to turn the light on especially on newer cars, sometimes they only have front lights and no rear lights, not until you turn the lights on. Also, important to practice how to use the high lights on your rental car before driving in Iceland in the winter time.
2. Which side of the road do Icelanders drive on?
A question you might be wondering, we drive on the right side, with a left steering. Originally we drove on the left side or until 1968, so it‘s quite recently that it was changed.
3. There is only one ring road
It‘s road number one that goes around the island. The road is a two-way road, meaning no space for error. Driving over to the other half should take a careful consideration. You will see different lines separating the traffic if the line is white and not broken it means no overtaking. Short broken lines mean overtaking with great caution. Then you can have longer white lines with long space between meaning you can overtake if no one is coming from the other direction. It’s also possible that on one side there is whole white line with a broken line on either sight, meaning that the side with a broken line can overtake if no traffic is on the other side. The ring road is 1337 kilometers long, that is without all the fjords and peninsulas.
4. The speed limit in Iceland
The speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas unless another speed is precise. 80 km/h on gravel roads. 90km/h on asphalt. It‘s important to pay attention to the different road signs, they might indicate different speed or difficult conditions. It‘s very important to choose safe speed according to the conditions all the time and according to your capability of driving.
5. One way bridges
On the ring road and on other roads in Iceland, you can still find some one-way bridges. It‘s very important to be careful around them. Always slow down when approaching them. The unwritten rule is the car that approaches the bridge first has the right to go first. One local tip, when someone waits for you to cross on the other side, give them a polite wave for the courtesy.
6. Don‘t stop in the middle of the road for photos
Often you might experience the feeling of feeling alone in the world while driving in Iceland. Even though that is the case you still need to be aware of the other drivers. If you really want to stop for photos or some other reason, try to find a place where you can get off the road. If you need to stop on the road make sure it‘s on a safe spot, not right after a single bridge, on a blind hill or right after a turn. Stop in places where there are space and room for others to drive around you in a safe way.
7. The different season and driving in Iceland
You can learn more about the different season in our post about „when is the best time to visit Iceland“. When it comes to driving in Iceland it‘s important to be aware of the different weather you can experience. Getting around is normally easy in the summertime but can be harder in the winter due to icy roads, snow, and wind, so very important to take that into consideration when renting a car. Also, check the road condition and weather forecast a few times a day.
8. Sheep and driving
If you are driving in Iceland in the summer you will most likely come across a lot of sheep. In the summertime, the sheep roam free in nature and therefore they sometimes hang around the roads. So be ready to meet these cute sheep on the road. The sheep are normally in a group of three it’s the mom and the two lambs, so if you see one crossing the road you can expect two more to come, that’s very common.
9. Hazard lights mean something is broken or something is wrong
If you need to stop for some reason use indicator, indicating off the road not hazard lights. In Iceland, hazard lights mean something is wrong. If you need help or assistance then that would be the time to use hazard lights. Taking photos or Snapchat is not a reason for hazard lights.
10. Fill your tank when you can
You don’t find gas stations on every corner in Iceland, therefore it’s very important to fill your tank when you can. Or at least know where the next station is and make sure you can get there without running out of gas. Getting a service car to bring you some gas, can be very expensive and totally unnecessary to spend money on that when you can easily avoid it.
When driving in Iceland it‘s very important to pay attention to the ever-changing weather and road condition like we talked about before. Never put yourself or anyone else in danger with reckless driving
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