Winter in Iceland

Driving in winter in Iceland can be hazardous due to extreme weather conditions. Check road conditions, use winter tires, drive carefully, keep warm, and stay alert to ensure a safe journey.

Winter driving in Iceland can be challenging so its important to prepare yourself for your trip. Before setting out check to see your lights, brakes and engine are in good working condition. 

Recommended equipment for winter driving in Iceland: 

  • Snow tires – roads are often slippery and snow covered 
  • A snow scraper – you’ll need to scrape ice and snow off all windows and mirror before departing 
  • A shovel – if you get stuck in the snow you can dig yourself out 
  • A headlamp or flashlight – due to limited light in winter you will want to have a light with you in case of emergency 
  • An extra blanket / warm clothing and something to eat and drink – if you get stuck you may have to wait some time before roads are cleared and weather calms down 
  • A cell phone with internet – checking road conditions at before entering a new area means you could avoid driving an impassable road or road with poor conditions 

Tips for winter driving and travel in Iceland: 

  • Be flexible in your planning because weather and road conditions can often force you to change your plans 
  • If you’re planning to drive a lot during your winter trip you might want to get a 4X4 which would provide more comfort in winter conditions – but notice that some days weather and conditions can be too bad for driving a 4×4 
  • Impassable road means do not drive – no matter if you have a 4×4 or not. 
  • Closed road means CLOSED! No entering! 
  • Be aware that camper vans are wind sensitive vehicles and therefore very vulnerable in storms, which are quite common in Iceland 
  • Accidents of all kind can happen (sand storms, black ice, collision, etc.) so its good to buy the best insurance you can afford for your trip 
  • Watch out for car doors in the wind – they can easily get damaged so you must hang onto them when you exit the car! 

Accidents can still happen even to the best prepared driver. Inform yourself about the road and weather conditions and accept that sometimes conditions are not okay for travelling. 

Want to know more? The Icelandic Transport Authorities have this to tell you about winter driving in Iceland.

What do you know about
driving in the Icelandic winter?

Conditions in Iceland are unusual.
Reach your destination safely