An Icelandic airline warns passengers that “Icelandic conditions may be different from what you are used to”; Driving is a very different experience in Iceland compared to driving in many other countries.
Winter driving tips in Iceland
In Iceland there are no motorways, but there are several types of roads classified according to their conditions and their various uses. Roads are numbered, or should I say rather “the road” because there is only one. It is the number one road, commonly called “Hringurinn”, which is the ring road of the island; This road is completely paved with asphalt. It is a very popular route for locals and tourists to use, especially in the summer with motorhomes, as there are many campsites on the way. The speed limit on this road is 90 km / h, as on the other main roads.
Two-digit roads, such as Highway 85 which connects Húsavík to Mývatn, are secondary roads, often partially paved. Three-digit roads are unpaved secondary roads, often giving access to small villages or farms.
F Roads are the highland roads of Iceland, which are tracks accessible only in summer, and where it is necessary and mandatory to drive in a 4×4. In winter, these roads are impassable and therefore closed. The Icelandic Road Administration website will keep you informed of road conditions.
The weather in Iceland, especially in winter, is quite unpredictable, as are the winter road conditions! Check road conditions regularly. The road administration keeps the roads in good condition and clears the snow, but will always begin with the most important and busy roads.
In the winter, studded tyres are highly recommended; some car rental companies use “all-year round” tyres that can be used throughout the year, which are sufficient to travel the ring road and some other roads, provided that there is not too much snow.
However, remember that apart from snow; wind and lack of visibility can also be a hazard when driving in the winter. If the visibility is too poor, it is best to stop for a few hours (or for the night), and wait for the weather to turn!
In winter, the highlands and the interior area of Iceland are not accessible; Some of Iceland’s most impressive sites, such as Landmannalaugar, Kerlingafjöll or Laki, can only be visited in the summer.
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