Road information and weather in Iceland

If you intend to hire a car in Iceland feel free to ask for information about different roads in Iceland and gravel roads in the Icelandic highlands. We would be happy to help you find answers to your questions. Please take the Icelandic weather into account when making your travel plans. Driving conditions in Iceland in the winter can be very harsh. There are rapid weather changes, heavy snowfall and fast winds so Icelandic roads can close very fast and without notice.

Much information is also available online at the office of the Icelandic Public Roads Administration called Vegagerdin and at website of the Icelandic association for search and rescue ICE-SAR
Information on current road conditions is available by calling the Road Service phone number +354-1778 between 08:00 and 16:00 local time.

In any case you should always think about these points when making travel plans in Iceland:
  • Check the Icelandic weather forecast as well as road conditions - call 1778
  • Leave your travel plan behind so someone’s know where you are
  • Be prepared for bad weather, bring warm clothes with you
  • Check the opening hours of gas stations and other service

If you are visiting Iceland and plan to travel in a hired car it is also good to remember that distances and other measurements on Icelandic road signs and road maps are displayed in standard metric units. Distances between towns can be great and many of the Icelandic country roads narrow and winding. The speed limit for these gravel roads and paved country roads in Iceland are relatively low therefore driving from one place to another takes longer than you might think. Particular care needs to be taken on gravel roads and loose surfaces.

Road weather in Iceland

Someone once said "In Iceland there's never any real weather, just samples of it.” Sadly this is quite true. Driving conditions may be hazardous and roads impassable, especially in winter.

The weather in Iceland changes unbelievably quickly and tourists planning to hire a car to do some driving in Iceland whether it is on country roads or highland tracks in center of Iceland the Icelandic weather can cause problems for travellers if they're not adequately prepared.

Even during the summer, weather can rapidly change with wind and rain, creeping up and unleashing the full force of the Icelandic weather, it may even start snowing in July.

The online website of the Icelandic meteorological office where the Icelandic weather reports and predictions are continuously updated during the day is also available in English

Remain alert to the possibility of rapidly changing weather conditions, including river levels, which can change dramatically even within the same day.

If you are caught in an Icelandic storm the nr. one rule is

This really cannot be stressed enough, the car or other vehicle is much more likely to be found in a storm than you are even if the search area is small.
Most fatal accidents in Iceland involving tourists stem from them having overestimated their own abilities or underestimated Icelandic weather.

Animals on the road

Drivers of hired cars should be prepared for Icelandic farm animals grazing by the roadside and straying into or crossing the road. It is also good to keep in mind that drivers who cause injury or death to such animals may be liable to claims for compensation.

Road signs in Iceland

Traffic signs in Iceland conform to the general pattern of those used in most other European countries with a few unique exceptions. Most importantly for drivers of hired cars are the warning road signs which have rounded corners, yellow backgrounds and red borders.
Those intending to hire a car in Iceland should know that road signs in Iceland are more sparsely employed than in other European countries, especially in rural areas.

Blind hills for hired cars in Iceland

Unfortunately for drivers of hired cars there are many blind hills on Icelandic roads, they are generally indicated with the warning road sign in the shape of a yellow triangle with a red border around an exclamation mark known as "Other danger" above the Icelandic word "blindhaed" meaning Blind rise. However some blind hills are not marked with road signs.