Driving in Iceland

Driving in Iceland

Driving in Iceland is different to what you are used to, so extra caution is needed while you enjoy the unique scenery which is the reason we at Stracta Car Hire to do our best to secure your safety while you are driving our car in Iceland. The roads, the weather, the nature, the road signs and law are in many cases very different to your home country. Please read carefully below information when planning your travelling around Iceland.

Seatbelts and daylight driving

Instructed by law, seat belts should always be fastened by the driver and all passengers (front and rear) when driving in Iceland. Headlamps should always be on while driving, both night and day.

Icelandic gravel roads

Icelandic roads are total of 13 thousand km but only about 5000 km. are paved with asphalt. The majority are gravel roads which need special attention while driving. The roads are narrow and sometimes with one-lane bridges and occasionally, sheep's and Icelandic horses can cross the roads.

Regulation driving speed in Iceland

In urban areas the speed limit is 50 km/h unless indicated otherwise and the limit in rural areas is 90 km/h on paved roads but only 80 km/h on gravel roads.

Iceland Ring Road and F-roads

The Ring Road (route 1), called by the locals Hringvegur, is narrow but mostly paved and easy to drive. When leaving the Ring for the F-roads, to reach the Iceland highland, you must have the correct vehicle. Extra caution is needed and important to check if the road is open for driving. Some F-roads may be drivable only by larger 4×4 rental.

Average opening times on popular F-roads in Icleand:

  • Lakagígar (F206) - June 12th.
  • Fjallabaksleið nyrðri (Landmannalaugar, Eldgjá) (F208) - June 12th
  • Landmannaleið, Landmannalaugar (F225) - June 15th
  • Kjölur (Hveravellir) (F35) - June 11th
  • Sprengisandur (F26) - June 27th
  • Askja (F88) - June 20th
  • Kverkfjöll (F902) - June 19th
  • Uxahryggir (F52) - June 5th
  • Kaldidalur (F550) - June 13th

Off-road driving in Iceland

Even though you are driving 4×4 all off road driving, like driving off unmarked roads, is illegal in Iceland. The reason is that Iceland nature is very unique and fragile and minor damage to it can take decades to recover or may never be recoverable.

Icelandic roads and weather conditions

The Icelandic Roads Administration, Vegagerdin, offers information about open and closed roads. Road conditions can be called at 1777 or reached on the web. The Icelandic Met Office, Vedurstofan, offers Weather condition and forecast on the web. The mobile network covers large parts of Iceland but there can be blind spots in rural areas which should be taken into account if relied on as a safety device.

Additional useful safety information@safetravel.is page

Unique Iceland road signs:

Highland roads are marked with "F" in front of the road number. An unbridged river ahead. Insurance does not cover damage caused by crossing a river. The damage is the liability of the driver. Blind hill ahead on a narrow road so slow down and keep right.
One-lane bridge in front. Drive slowly and watch for coming traffic. In urban areas the speed limit is 50 km/h unless indicated otherwise and the limit in rural areas is 90 km/h on paved roads but only 80 km/h on gravel roads. Sheeps and horses may cause hazard by crossing the road suddenly.
Gravel road in front. Drive slowly. Closed road Road only for large 4×4 jeeps, with high ground clearance.
Icelandic road sign with road number and road name. National emergency
number 112.

Before driving in Iceland we recommend watching How to drive in Iceland videos


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