Travel in Iceland
Driving in Iceland: Iceland offers the traveller an adventure in a beautiful and rugged landscape. However, experience shows that the forces of Icelandic nature can be harsh and inhospitable, and travellers are well-advised to exercise caution and respect for the country's natural environment. Unfortunately, there have been accidents in the past years involving foreign tourists travelling the country. The most common type of accidents is that of hikers losing their footing on rugged terrain. The more serious injuries, however, are caused by road traffic accidents where travellers drive too fast in unfamiliar conditions and do not wear seat belts.
Have a Safe Journey - a brochure for foreigners travelling in Iceland is available in five languages. Here is a link to the Road Traffic Directorate where you can find the brochures: http://us.is/page/english
Mountain roads: Most mountain roads and roads in the interior of Iceland have a gravel surface. The surface on the gravel roads is often loose, especially along the sides of the roads, so one should drive carefully and slow down whenever approaching an oncoming car. The mountain roads are also often very narrow and are not made for speeding. The same goes for many bridges, which are only wide enough for one car at a time. In addition to not having an asphalt surface the mountain roads are often very windy. Journeys may therefore take longer than expected.
For information on road conditions, tel.: +354-1777, daily 8:00–16:00. www.road.is. The total length of the road around Iceland (national highway) is 1.339 km. 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 asphalt roads.
Speeding: Fines for speeding in Iceland are substantial. Be on the lookout for speed limit signs and always adjust your speed to the driving conditions. If you have a great need for speed, let us know and we´ll help you keep it off the streets and on the track!
Off road driving: Driving rental cars on roads or tracks with no roadnumber is forbidden. Passenger cars and 2wd vehicles are strictly forbidden on roads that are marked with an F on public maps. This also applies to Kjölur (road 35) and Kaldidalur (road 550).
No insurance covers damages to the chassis of the vehicle nor damages caused by driving in or across rivers or any kind of waterways. Driving outside marked trails is prohibited and is subject to nature conservation law. Keep in mind that fords over glacial rivers keep changing. On warm summer days, the flow increases as the day progresses. Heavy rain often causes rivers to swell, sometimes making them uncrossable even for large and well equipped vehicles. Glacial rivers usually have less water in the mornings. Deaths have been caused by underestimating the water volume in rivers. Before crossing a glacial river, it is necessary to examine its velocity, depth and bottom by wading into it. If you find that you would be unwilling to wade across the river on foot, you should not attempt to drive across it.
Seek advice from experienced drivers and watch how and where they cross. Ensure that the four-wheel drive has been engaged before driving into the water. Drive very slowly but steadily in first gear and use the low range if available.
Warning signs: Special warning signs indicate danger ahead, such as sharp bends, but there is generally no separate sign to reduce speed. Please choose a safe speed according to conditions. Motorists are obliged by law to use headlights at all times, day and night. In Iceland all driving off roads or marked tracks is prohibited by law. Passengers in the front and back seats of an automobile are equired by law to use safety-belts. Icelandic law forbids any driving under the influence of alcohol.
Fuel filling stations: In the Greater Reykjavík area most filling stations are open every day to 23:30. Opening hours around the country, where the pumps are privately operated, can vary from place to place. Many stations in the Reykjavík area and larger towns of Iceland have automats in operation after closing, which accept VISA and EURO credit cards as well as notes.
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