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The road system in Iceland, what to keep in mind

The road system in Iceland and what travelers should keep in mind on their road trip. 

The circular highway around the main part of the country that loosely follows the coast is designated as road number 1. All vehicular traffic in Iceland is on the right hand side of the road and international traffic signs are used but there are always some special things to keep in mind when on a self drive trip in a new country. 

Be aware of the surroundings

 Motorist should be extremely careful of sheep, horses and cattle grazing along the highway. Slow down when there is livestock near the road and prepare to stop quickly as they may suddenly cross your cars path.
Many secondary roads are gravel roads. On gravel roads there is always the possibility of having headlights and windshields shattered by a pebble thrown up by a passing car. For the same reason do not follow the car ahead too closely. Special caution must be taken when a paved road ends and one drives onto a gravel road that is often more narrow and more slippery. Single lane bridges are found in many places in Iceland, so special care must be taken when approaching those bridges. EINBREIĐ BRÚ means a Single Lane Bridge.

Speed limit

The speed limit in urban areas is normally 50 km. pr. hour but can be lower in residential areas. Outside towns, the speed limit is generally 90 km. pr hour on paved roads and 80 km pr. hour on gravel roads. Speeding fines in Iceland can be over 1000,- Euros. Driver and passengers are required by law to wear seat belts when driving and headlamps are required to be lit 24 hours a day when driving in Iceland.

Highland roads 

Roads in the central highlands are for the most part rough gravel roads or trails, - so called F - roads. Rivers and streams are usually unbridged and must be forded. These roads are usually only passable by 4x4 during mid summer. Please note that most highland roads in Iceland are closed for all traffic and impassable, - even by 4x4 during winter. Driving off road is strictly forbidden and illegal by Icelandic law and subject to a high fine.

Winter driving

The first thing a driver must realize when driving in Iceland during winter is that driving conditions may be very different from what most people are used to. Always remember to check road conditions in the area you plan to travel. Visit the website of the Icelandic Road Administration, - Vegagerđin where up to date information on road conditions is available. The website of SAFETRAVEL at which is also highly recommended for information. Please keep in mind that roads can be very slippery, - even when no snow or ice can be seen. Make sure that your car is equipped with good winter tires and even with studded tires if driving in rural areas. Always adjust your driving speed according to driving conditions. We recommend all our guests that are on a winter road trip to have a 4WD vehicle.  

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