Driving in Iceland

Before leaving, there are a few things you should be aware of if you intend to drive around Iceland on your own. First, driving in Iceland is easy if you follow the rules and respect the country’s fragile environment.

One of the easiest rules to remember is that driving in Iceland is on the right side of the road. You can also get used to the fact that on two-lane roundabouts, the car in the inner lane has the right of way, while the vehicles in the outer lane must give way.

Remember When Driving in Iceland

Traffic rules

Driving in Iceland is a fun and exciting way to experience this beautiful country, but knowing the traffic rules is essential before you hit the roads. It is especially true if you’re not used to driving in a different country.

speed limit in Iceland is generally lower than what you’re used to at home, with urban areas set at 50 km/h, gravel roads at 80 km/h, and paved rural roads at 90 km/h. If you’re speeding on a paved road, you could get caught and ticketed!

Never speed while driving in Iceland is among the most crucial reminders. Even though the scenery here is incredibly beautiful, you’ll miss out on soaking it all in if you drive too fast.

You should also be aware that sheep can often cross the road without warning, so be careful to keep your eyes peeled for these animals when you’re on the go.

Finally, it is always best to turn your headlights on, even with poor visibility. These lights are legally required to help you see in low-light conditions.

Roads

Driving in Iceland can be tricky if you need to familiarize yourself with the roads. However, if you stick to the rules and plan your journey carefully, you should be fine.

The majority of the road system in Iceland is paved, with only a small amount of gravel in East Iceland near Berufjordur and some mountain roads in the south. The paved roads are the primary way to get around the country, and they are in good condition most of the time.

Paved roads are easy to drive, and they can take you to the major sights in Iceland. You can use a regular 2-wheel drive car to explore these roads, but renting a more significant, high-clearance 4WD vehicle is best for exploring the remote parts of the island.

You will also find unpaved roads called F-roads open only in summer and require a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. These rough and unpredictable tracks can be challenging to drive on, so you are highly recommended to rent a vehicle designed for this type of driving.

Other common traffic rules in Iceland include not stopping in the middle of the road or attempting to take photos while driving, which can be very dangerous to other drivers and pedestrians. Also, always keep your headlights on when driving, as this is a significant safety measure for nighttime travel.

Weather

As a result of Iceland’s reputation for unpredictable weather, it is crucial to be prepared when driving in this breathtaking nation. Luckily, some rules you can follow when driving in Iceland will help you prepare for changing conditions.

For starters, you’ll want to ensure your windshield wipers are working correctly before you set out on a long drive. Additionally, you’ll need to know where your fog lights are located and how to turn them on when necessary.

You’ll also want to remember that headlights must always be on when you’re on the road, even when it’s cloudy or raining. If you don’t have them on, you could be fined.

Temperatures are quite cold in Iceland, so pack warm clothing and layers of socks if you plan to visit during the winter months. In Reykjavik, average summer temperatures range from 13degC (55degF) to 11degC (52degF).

As a rule of thumb, the highlands are the coldest parts of Iceland, while the south and west coasts are warmer. It is due to a section of the Gulf Stream flowing along the southern and western coasts.

Wind speeds can be decisive in the highlands, so it’s essential to dress accordingly. In addition, it’s important to be aware of the fact that storms are common in Iceland.

Animals

Iceland is home to an abundance of wildlife. The country’s landscape is rich in biodiversity, and the animals that call it home are all hardy and resilient, making it an ideal destination for wildlife lovers.

While it is possible to see various creatures on your journey around Iceland, there are some that you will likely encounter more often than others. If you are hoping to see a particular animal, then make sure to check the time of year that they are present before planning your trip to Iceland.

Arctic foxes are one of the common animals in Iceland and can be spotted throughout the country’s remote highlands. These sleek arctic mammals can survive very cold conditions, and their fur changes color with the seasons to provide maximum camouflage capabilities.

 

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