Driving in Iceland During Your Iceland Wedding Weekend

Hello Fans, Friends and Clients!

We have been B-U-S-Y!!  Our 2015 Iceland weddings officially began a few weeks ago with an ASTOUNDING one we will begin to blog about next time, so be sure to tune back in =) …and in the meantime, ::LIKE US:: on Facebook to see sneak peaks from it!  Today, we thought we’d actually take a step away from Iceland Wedding Planning and Iceland Wedding Photography, to talk about one of the most often asked questions we get from our clients…

“What can I expect when driving around in Iceland?”

Our Answer:  Driving in Iceland is serious business, no matter the season!

For example, do you remember my crazy experience last winter when I got stuck doing something silly on an F-Road?  Go back here to re-read, it wasn’t pretty.  I. Will. Never. Do. That. Again.

Couple of things I’d like to point out in case you only skim this “How to Drive in Iceland” blog post for Highlights:

  • You will need to drive on the right side of the road (just like in the USA).
  • Roads in Iceland are coarse, unpredictable, and will feel VERY at narrow at times.
  • Your headlights must be on at all times, daylight or not (Do it, it’s the law).
  • Don’t drink and drive (Not even a drop! Do it, it’s the law)!
  • Follow the speed limit! It’s a heavy toll if you don’t (I know from experience – $650 USD ticket!)
  • Dangerous gale force winds, rain, hail, snow, or blizzard conditions can come out of nowhere, fast. Be Prepared.
  • Have an emergency kit on hand.
  • To Buy Fuel: Know your debit or credit card “pin” beforehand OR buy prepaid cards to use at the fuel pumps once you arrive in Iceland for various amounts in ISK (Most common fuel stations in Iceland are: N1, Olis, and Orkan).
  • Iceland’s Emergency Number (Search and Rescue Team) is: 112.

There are really two seasons in Iceland… Winter and Summer.  So below I’ll elaborate on tips to driving in Iceland during these two periods.

Winter in Iceland…

If traveling far distances throughout Iceland during the winter months October thru March (example: Vik, Iceland to the Glacial Lagoon in Hofn, Iceland) you may want to consider having the following items as a precaution in your car:

  • Emergency Kit – Small Shovel, Flares, Water, Snacks, Blankets, Towels, Extra Clothes, Wool Socks, Cell Phone, Small First Aid Kit, Fuel Can/Fuel for your Vehicle. If you get stuck it could be a while before someone can reach you.
  • Or at the VERY least make sure you fill up every time you see a fuel station because it may be your last chance before conditions change.

How to Drive in Snowy Conditions Iceland:

  • Check the road conditions before leaving your hotel on the Icelandic Road Administration website.
  • The authorities will close roads if they warrant them too dangerous to pass and if you enter the path towards, you could be fined if you get stuck.
  • Check the weather conditions on Icelandic Met Office website for the region of Iceland you’re in and going to.
  • Make sure your headlights are on at all times – no joke.
  • In times of white-out blizzard like conditions, make sure that your emergency lights are flashing, and your high beams are on. The more visibility of yourself to others, the better.
  • Slow and steady on the gas and brake pedals.
  • Fill up your fuel tank at every opportunity you can when you are in Southern Iceland. Fuel stations can sometimes be sparse in rural areas.
  • Make sure you have your above emergency kit available to sustain you if and as needed until help arrives or the conditions lighten (biggest worries are between December-March).
  • There is no shame in taking it SLOW! Let the locals or other people pass you!
  • Follow the yellow road markers to ensure you’re staying within the road lines. In sections throughout Iceland there are steep drops behind those points so be careful and very aware!
  • Stay off F-Roads please! If you want to explore, we know some AMAZING locale super jeep tour company’s in Iceland that will show you an unforgettable time in the highlands and on the F-Roads!
  • As Icelanders say: “Icelandic roads can be unpredictable, slippery, dangerous, and you must be prepared to endure.”
  • Off-roading in Iceland (outside of the designated adventurous “F-Roads”) is strictly prohibited. Keep Iceland pure and do not go against this law.  Rule of Thumb: If the road you’re turning on does not have a number, don’t venture on it, even if you see tire tracks.  If you don’t heed this warning you could face serious fines and or up to 2 years in jail.
  • Dial 112 for Emergency Assistance in Iceland.

Summer Driving in Iceland…

Typically the summer months (April-September) offer a little less worry than the winter months in Iceland.  But because Iceland is known for their ever changing conditions, you still need to practice caution.  Some tips to get you through driving in Iceland during the summer follow below:

  • You will need to drive on the right side of the road (just like in the USA).
  • Check the weather daily here and the road conditions here.
  • Roads in Iceland are coarse, unpredictable, and will feel VERY at narrow at times.
  • Your headlights must be on at all times, day or night (Do it, it’s the law).
  • Don’t drink and drive (Not even a drop! Do it, it’s the law)!
  • Follow the speed limit! It’s a heavy toll if you don’t (I know from experience – $650 USD ticket!).  Typically it’s 90 kmh mainly along Route 1 (the Ring Road); and 30 kmh in residential/city areas.
  • ANIMALS! Sheep, Horses, Reindeer, you name it!  Beware of them on and around the roads and patient with them!
  • Dangerous gale force winds, rain, hail, snow, or blizzard conditions can come out of nowhere, fast.
  • If you intend your journey to be on any “F-Roads” make sure that your rental company allows it (check your contract). You will pay heavy fines if the search and rescue team has to bail you out of a situation not to mention the damage you could potentially do to the vehicle.
  • Off-roading in Iceland (outside of the designated adventurous “F-Roads”) is strictly prohibited. Keep Iceland pure and do not go against this law.  Rule of Thumb: If the road you’re turning on does not have a number, don’t venture on it, even if you see tire tracks.  If you don’t heed this warning you could face serious fines and or up to 2 years in jail.
  • To Buy Fuel: Know your debit or credit card “pin” beforehand OR buy prepaid cards to use at the fuel pumps once you arrive in Iceland for various amounts in ISK (Most common fuel stations in Iceland are: N1, Olis, and Orkan).
  • Iceland’s Emergency Number (Search and Rescue Team) is: 112.

I hope today’s post on driving in Iceland has proved to be enlightening to you, that you heed my warnings and stay safe!  Every path in Iceland snowy, rainy or not, will lead you somewhere that will take your breath away!  Enjoy!

With a smile, Ann Peters (Iceland Wedding Planner)

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