Driving in Iceland

Driving in Iceland Ras Car Rental

In Iceland you drive on the right side of the road and overtake on the left. Road conditions in Iceland vary substantially. Highway 1 is mostly paved, but other country roads are often very narrow, steep and washboarded gravel tracks with potholes and sharp corners. Those unfamiliar with such conditions often find it difficult to drive on Icelandic roads, especially gravel roads.

Before you take-off please take a minute and get to know these rules, regulations and safety tips:

  • Slow down when you meet other vehicles, especially when driving on a gravel road.

  • Where the road changes from a paved road to a gravel road, you need to slow down considerably. Many serious accidents occur every year at such places, especially among drivers who are unfamiliar with such road conditions, lose control of their vehicle and drive off the road.

  • Blind summits are common in Iceland. Slow down and keep to the right-hand edge of the road.

  • There are many one-lane bridges in Iceland. Slow down and use caution when driving across them.

  • Many Icelandic roads are raised on embankments against winter snows. Therefore, roll-over accidents often occur when drivers lose control of their vehicles and drive off the road. Such accidents can be very serious, especially when seat belts are not use.

  • In the summertime, there is sunlight 24 hours a day. Drivers need to be aware of this and not drive for too long, as they might otherwise fall asleep behind the wheel. The speed limit in urban areas is normally 50 km per hour. Outside towns, it is 90 km, on paved roads and 80 km on gravel roads. Always adjust your speed to the driving conditions.

  • Domestic animals are often close to, or even on, country roads. Drivers who hit animals may be required to pay for the damage.

  • Off-road driving in Iceland is prohibited by law. Due to our short summers, Icelandic soil and vegetation is extremely vulnerable. Tire tracks can leave marks for decades. Please respect Icelandic nature and tread carefully.

  • The use of hands-free kits is compulsory for mobile phone use whilst driving.

  • Driving while intoxicated from drug or alcohol use is prohibited.

  • Headlamps are required to be lit 24 hours a day while the vehicle is in operation.

  • The use of front and back seat belts is compulsory – they save lives.

Useful Websites


The Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue


Weather forecasts from The Icelandic Meteorological Office


Road conditions from the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration (IRCA)


Iceland Drivers Safety Class

Weather conditions can make driving in Iceland very different from your own country.

So be sure to take this Driving class before you hit the road...