Driving in Iceland
There are many unique things about driving in Iceland which may come as a surprise. We at Thrifty Car Rental Iceland are concerned about your safety. The roads, the weather, the nature, the road signs and law is in many cases very different from your home country. Remember that you are responsible for checking road conditions and weather conditions during your trip.
Please read the information below carefully when planning your car rental in Iceland.
Always wear seatbelts when driving in Iceland.
Always wear seatbelts
As instructed by Icelandic law, seat belts should be worn at all times by everyone in the car, the driver and all passengers (front and rear) when driving in Iceland. Fatal accidents and serious injuries are on the rise due to tourists not wearing seatbelts.
Always bring a driver's license upon pickup.
Read more about our driver's license policy here.
Keep your headlights on 24 hours a day to make sure you are visible from all angles.
Keep headlights on at all times
It is of great importance that you keep the headlamps lit 24 hours a day while driving in Iceland and make sure you also have lights on the rear of the vehicle. Most modern vehicles have an automatic daylight setting that has minimum lighting and often no lights on the rear side of the car. We have your safety in mind when we advise you to turn the lights on so the vehicle is visible from all angles.
Always find a designated parking space. Do not stop on the roadside.
Don’t stop on the roadside
In Iceland there are increasing problems and accidents due to tourists who stop on the roadside to take photos. This is unsafe, illegal and dangerous for you and passengers in other cars heading your way. You should ALWAYS find a safe place to park the car on a designated parking lot to take photos. It is also not allowed to feed animals in fences such as horses and other animals.
Make sure to rest during long trips. Don't drive tired.
Don’t drive tired
In the summertime when the sun is up almost 24 hours a day drivers need to be careful to rest over the day during long trips. It is a good idea to take turns driving. We offer an additional driver for low cost so you can add an extra driver and enjoy your trip to the fullest. If you are travelling alone, find a designated parking lot and rest if you are feeling tired. It is very dangerous for you and others if you fall asleep behind the wheel. It can cause fatal accidents.
The inner lane has the right of way when exiting a roundabout.
There are many roundabouts in Iceland. The inner lane has the right of way to exit, so the car on the outer lane has to stop for the car on the inner lane. You are not insured if you break this rule.
Make sure to store all your luggage in the luggage compartment.
Please DO NOT place your luggage in the back seat. In case of a collision or an emergency stop heavy items WILL be thrown around. This can cause serious injury to you or others. Please be safe.
Do not enter a closed road. They are closed for a reason!
Roads can be blocked temporarily due to extreme weather or road conditions. NEVER enter a blocked road – it is DANGEROUS. Closed roads are not always blocked with signs! Check www.road.is
Drivers will be subject to complete liability for any damage to the rental vehicle if they enter a closed road.
Make sure to keep on the right while driving over blind hills.
Blind hills are common – especially on narrow roads. Slow down and keep to the right. Never stop on a blind hill. Not all blind hills are marked with signs.
Off-road driving is illegal and is subject to high fines.
The nature in Iceland is very unique and fragile. Damage can be irreversible. Beaches and black sand count as off-road. Stay on roads and recognised tracks. Offroad driving is illegal even though you are driving an AWD/4x4 vehicle.
Make sure to follow the speed limits while driving in Iceland.
When driving in poor weather or on a rough road we advice you to drive slower than the indicated traffic limit. Please note that speeding cameras are located on many roads and always in road tunnels. Speeding fines are costly in Iceland.
Slow down before entering a one lane bridge. First to the bridge has the right off way.
One Lane Bridge
Many bridges are narrow, allowing only one car to cross at a time. Before entering narrow bridges, please slow down and make sure that no one is entering from the opposite direction.
Be aware of animals grazing by the roadside.
Animals on the road
Be aware of sheep – especially those with lambs – or other animals that are grazing by the roadside. Drivers who cause injury or death to such animals may be liable to claims for compensation.
Gravel roads are different to drive on than paved roads. Slow down and drive carefully.
Please SLOW DOWN when the paved road turns into a gravel road to avoid skidding. Gravel roads require your full attention and are not suited for fast driving.
When a car comes from the opposite direction, slow down and pull out to the right side of the road. This can reduce the risk of costly damage to paint and windshield from flying stones.
Windshield damage is the most common damage in Iceland.
Windshield damage is the most common damage customers experience here in Iceland. It is very costly and can happen on both paved and gravel roads. Often it is a passing car that causes a flying stone to hit your windshield. Nonetheless, you are responsible. See our Premium protection package option to view windshield coverage.