Driving Tips in Iceland
Iceland (Photo credit: pocius)
Driving in Iceland is a great way to see the country, but it may be very different from how you drive in your home country. Here are a few rules, laws, and tips if you decide to rent a car when you travel to Iceland.
Road Conditions Vary
Highway 1 is a highway that encircles the entire island. It is the main road used to get around Iceland and people rarely have issues driving on it. In contrast, many interior, mountain roads are dirt or gravel and even the roads that are paved may not have shoulders. Winter weather can make many areas treacherous, not only due to road conditions, but because daylight hours are very short. In the spring, some dirt roads are just tracks of mud that can bog a car down. It is advised that if you are driving in the interior of the country, you should travel with a second vehicle for when one car gets stuck. You should also always make sure someone has your travel plans. You can find out about road conditions in Iceland by calling 1777 when you are there.
Because the road conditions can change quickly, especially in bad weather, authorities put up road signs that mark a road as impassable. If a car breaks down on a road that authorities have marked as impassable, the driver will be fined for any emergency assistance, up to $1,500. Furthermore, off-roading is illegal and can cost you up to $2000 in fines.
Many Places are One-Lane Wide
Roads will likely be narrower than a driver is used to, and the majority of bridges are one-lane only. It is important to be alert when approaching a bridge and to make sure that no one else is coming. If it is dark, make sure you have your lights on and if you are unsure if another car is coming because of a curve in the road or weather, honk your horn as you approach the bridge to alert traffic.
Keep your Tank Full
It’s obvious advice, but between Vík and Mývatn along the Ring Road or in the Westfjords region, gas stations are sparse. Elsewhere most gas stations are open until 11:30 and many accept credit cards at the pump even when the station is closed.
Traffic Laws in Iceland
- Keep your headlights on at all times.
- You may not use a cellphone while driving unless you have a hands-free device.
- There are no right hand turns at a stoplight.
- Seatbelts are requires for all passengers in the vehicle.
Drinking and Driving in Iceland
Iceland takes drunk driving very seriously. The blood alcohol limit is very low compared to many countries. It is 0.05%. If you are stopped for driving under the influence, you will have to take a breathalyzer test. If you fail that test, you may be given a blood test. You cannot refuse a blood test and it can be administered by force.Fr more information about how to rent a car in Iceland check out here
If you are looking for a rent a car to drive in Iceland think of Sixt rent a car. Sixt has 3 car rental locations in Iceland making it easy to fly into Iceland a get a rent a car with Sixt Iceland.