Driving in Iceland

Single-lane bridges, gravel roads, blind hills & blind curves

Single-lane bridges
The actual rule is that the car closer to the bridge has the right-of-way.  However, it is wise to stop and assess the situation every time.
This sign indicates that a single-lane bridge is ahead:

Paved road changes to gravel
Sadly, accidents do occur on rural roads where a paved road suddenly changes to gravel. The main reason is that drivers do not reduce their speed before it changes to gravel and consequently lose control of the vehicle.
This sign indicates a changeover to gravel:

Gravel roads
When driving on gravel roads, which are often quite narrow, it is important to show caution when approaching another car coming from the opposite direction. Flying pieces of gravel are likely to damage your windshields if speed is not reduced.

Blind hills
Blind hills and curves, where lanes are not separated, should be approached with caution.  These are widely found throughout Iceland and test the driver’s skill.
This sign indicates a blind hill ahead:

Recommended speed:
In several places there are traffic signs indicating the recommended maximum speed and where drivers should realize that the permitted speed limit can’t be recommended because of the driving conditions.
This sign indicates recommended speed limit:

Sheep on the road:
In Iceland you can expect livestock to be on or alongside the road. It’s usually sheep but sometimes horses and even cattle can be in your path. It’s important to reduce speed as they may well run across the road in attempt to join other members of their group. This is common all over the country.

Important points:

  • Drivers and passengers are required by law to wear seatbelts.
  • It should be noted that children must either wear seat belts or be in car safety seats, depending on their age and maturity.
  • It is against the law to operate a vehicle in Iceland after having consumed alcohol.
  • Iceland requires that vehicle headlights be on at all times when driving – both day and night.
  • During the summer, there’s daylight both day and night and the day seems long. Drivers must be aware of this fact and avoid driving for too long, risking falling asleep.
  • The use of hands-free equipment is an obligation when talking on a mobile phone and driving at the same time.  However it is recommended not to use the phone at all while driving.
  • Please watch the videos below, both Driving with Elfis and Iceland Academy to get to know more about driving safely in Iceland.