Driving instructions from an old-timer

Tips on Driving in Iceland

Most tourists in Iceland prefer driving on their own because of the beautiful scenery. They get to stop and take their pictures with the view. Road trips are also one memorable activity whether for family or friends. But when visiting a new place, we should take precaution since we are not aware of its road condition. Plus, we should also consider the weather.


Here are some few tips when driving in Iceland:

Follow the speed limit

The usual speed for the populated area is 50 km/h. You won’t usually see another on the road unless the limit is changed. There are blue and white signs that suggest safe speed on some certain parts of the road. Also, the speed limit for gravel road is 80 km/h and paved roads have 90 km/h. Take note of the speed enforcement cameras! The speeding tickets can reach over a hundred thousand Icelandic kronurs.


A sudden change of Gravel road to Paved road

Do not be distracted. Eyes on the road. When encountering this situation, reduce your speed. If you didn’t notice the sudden change of paved road to a gravel road and lose control, don’t step on your brakes too hard but rather step off the gas and gently turn the steering wheel the same way as the car is pulling until you regain control.


Gravel roads are often Narrow

When there is another car coming from the other direction, move far right and it is a must to slow down.


Single Bridges on Highway 1

First, stop and assess the situation whether the other driver from the other direction plans to go ahead or give way. But the rule is to give way to the car nearer to the bridge since they have the right-of-way.


Seatbelts are very important

Whether you are a passenger or the driver, it is required by law to wear seatbelts. We don’t want to scare you but because of the nature of accidents in Iceland, seatbelts defines who gets saved. Children, on the other hand, should also be wearing seatbelts or be on their specified age-appropriate car seat.


They have unpredictable Weather

Just like the road, sudden weather changes happen in Iceland but it changes very rapidly. It is better to check their forecast at road.is or vedur.is.


Look out for animals

Sheep, horses or cows can be seen on the side of the roads but this could be very dangerous when we don’t slow down and they suddenly crossed the road. Usual encounters would be the lamb and the sheep are on opposite sides and expect them to run to each other or one of which run to the other side. Remember that when you hit an animal, you will be liable.




  • It is against the law to drive intoxicated

  • Headlights should be on at all times even during the day when driving.

  • No mobile phones. Use hands-free equipment if you really need to.

  • It is strictly forbidden to drive off-road



Fun fact: During summer, the sun is visible during day and night.



Photo grabbed from https://expertvagabond.com/driving-iceland-rental-car/

Daniel Smarason