All you need to know about driving in Iceland:
safety tips, roads, traffic signs, tolls, parking and more

A self-drive tour in Iceland is a favoured way to experience the land of fire and ice. After you rent a car in Iceland, how to get ready for a safe, fun, unforgettable Iceland road trip will be the next topic you will consider.

Here, we have included EVERYTHING you need to know when driving a regular gasoline/diesel car, a plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) or an electric vehicle(EV). We recommend you learn more about the Icelandic road system and conditions, safe driving tips, road and traffic signs, electric charging stations, tolls, and parking before visiting Iceland. Don’t forget to read the special notes for Tesla renters if you hire a Tesla with us for your road trip.  

The road system in Iceland

The first thing to answer: which side should you drive in Iceland? You should always drive on the right side of the road and overtake on the left

In Iceland’s cities and towns, all roads are paved, and multiple lanes roads are common. Always remember the right lane is the ‘regular driving lane’. If you want to overtake the car in front of you or turn left at the next intersection, you could go to the left lane. 

When you are driving in urban areas, the story could be a little bit different. Most of the time, you will drive on a single-lane road, even on Route 1 Ring Road.

So please, be extra careful when overtaking or pulling over on the way. Make sure the actual situation is safe to overtake, and you pull over at a designed parking and sightseeing spot. 

road in iceland

Types of roads and road conditions in Iceland

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Generally, Iceland roads in summer (June to August) are easy to drive. In winter, most roads will be icy and covered by snow; sometimes, black ice might also occur.

But never Iceland’s weather changes rapidly, even in summer. You have to be mentally prepared to cope with any condition.

There are 3 types of road in Iceland:

  1. Paved roads: The usual speed limit is 90 km/hr on highways and 30 to 50 km/hr in urban areas.
  2. Gravel roads: a big portion of roads in Icelandic road systems are gravel roads. The usual speed limit is 80 km/hr.
  3. F-roads: Icelandic mountain roads. They are ONLY open to the public during summertime and ONLY accessible with 4WD vehicles as requested by law.

Please always respect the speed limit and be reminded that speed cameras are posted around the country; you will be heavily fined for speeding.

IMPORTANT NOTES Off-road driving is straightly forbidden and illegal in Iceland. Please NEVER drive off the road at any time.

Icelandic Road and traffic signs

Road signs in Iceland will display warnings and advice you may not have seen before. There are 5 types of road signs in Iceland: 

1. Warning Signs: triangular red and yellow signs to advise of potential danger. Most often, the illustration will straightforwardly present the hazard. 

2. Mandatory Road Signs: Often are round-shape with blue colour background signs. They are regulations that drivers or road users must follow.

3. Prohibitory Signs: Signs showcasing the restriction on specific things, instructions must be followed

iceland warning signs
Mandatory Road Signs: in iceland
Prohibitory Signs in iceland

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4. Priority Road Signs: To clarify who has priority at the junction/road ahead

5. Informational signs: will be used on any roads to provide road users with general information

Top 15 safe driving tips

Driving in Iceland can be different from driving in other parts of the world, and there are some things to consider to ensure you’re safe when on the road. Here we have 15 IMPORTANT safe driving tips ready for you:

black sand beach

More detail about

Top 15 safe driving tips

we HIGHLY RECOMMEND you click the link above to read the full post and learn more about the 15 safety tips

  1. Always heed wind and weather warnings
  2. Never stop in the middle or side of the road for photos
  3. Don’t be ‘greedy’ when planning your trip
  4. Respect road closures for your own safety. “Lokað” means closed
  5. Off-road driving is illegal and strictly forbidden
  6. The headlights on the car are required to be ON at all times, both day and night – all year round
  7. Always drive within speed limits
  8. Always beware of the sheep on the road when driving in summer
  9. Be extra careful when crossing single-lane bridges
  10. Winter driving in Iceland: don’t drive after sunset
  11. Slow down when you are approaching gravel roads
  12. Don’t drive when tired
  13. Drive on the right side
  14. NEVER camp outside of a campsite, especially with your campervan
  15. Always drive with your seatbelts fastened, and NEVER drive with a cellphone in your hand

These are the three important websites you should always check before hitting the road every day:

Iceland Met Office
Safe Travel Iceland
raod.is official website
Road Iceland

Driving a PHEV/ EV in Iceland

Going on a long road trip with a PHEV or EV is no longer an innovative thing to do, especially in Iceland. With the sharp increase in EV and PHEV market share in Iceland, electric car charging stations and facilities are more accessible and cover many more areas in Iceland.

If you are renting a PHEV or EV or Tesla in Iceland with us, the questions of where you can charge the vehicle, how to charge it, and what you can do to save some money by making the car more fuel efficient might come to your mind right away. Here we have put together all the useful information about driving a PHEV/ EV and the Tesla in Iceland for you. We highly recommend you read over these posts and familiarize yourself with EV and PHEV operations before visiting Iceland:

Parking in Iceland: how to pay and where can you park?

ike all the countries around the world, parking your rental car in Iceland is NOT free.

In general, the parking spots INSIDE an Iceland city/town are usually NOT free. Depending on the city rules, there will be a slight difference in paid parking zones.

For all the designed parking locations, you will see a P sign with a blue background. It indicates that you can park your car here, and you will need to pay for parking in these areas most of the time.

Not only pay the parking fee with a meter, but you can also pay the fee via the Parka app and EasyPark app.

If you are not able to pay for parking within a period of time, you will get a ticket.

If you are visiting Reykjavik or Akureyri during your stay in Iceland, we recommend you read the full post on ‘parking in Iceland‘ by clicking the link to learn the parking zone and rules in these cities.

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Tolls/Tunnels

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99.9% of the roads in Iceland are toll-free, only with one exception–the Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel, located in the North of Iceland.

When you go past the tunnel, you are expected to pay the fee within 24 hours. You can pay the toll via veggjald.is.

A kind reminder to Hertz Iceland’s renters: the expense of toll fees and parking fees are on your own terms; please pay accordingly.

If you failed to make your payments, Hertz Iceland would receive the cost+ fined tickets from the authority, and we would have to charge you the fined amount with an admin service fee.

Gas stations, fuel and EV re-charge in Iceland

There are four main fuel companies in Iceland; they are N1, Orkan, ÓB+Olís (they belong to the same cooperation) and Atlantsolía.

You can be 100% sure that you can find gas stations in all cities, towns and villages.  If you will travel along Route 1 Ring Road, it is also easy to find gas stations or pumps along the way, and you will find them all within a 100 km distance apart from each other. 

We have gathered all you need to know about gas stations and fuel refills in Iceland in the travel guide. Click the link and learn more.

In case of an emergency—What should you do?

While travelling in Iceland in a rental car, you can come to situations where you need assistance with your car. Below, we shorted listed 8 most common car light + car issues and what it means, how to resolve them on the spot or how to proceed if you need assistance. We highly recommend you read the ‘Hertz Emergency Service’ post and learn all emergency procedures.

In case of injury, call 112 immediately.


If your vehicle is involved in a collision or sustains other damage it is very important to fill out an accident statement as well as record the damage with photographs. You will find an accident statement form to fill out in the vehicle’s glove box or the glove boxes of other vehicles. You can also access the form online here.

If a dispute arises and you are in the greater Reykjavík area you may contact arekstur.is, tel. +354 578 9090. Otherwise, contact the local police. NB: a police report does not satisfy the requirement for an accident report.

If the vehicle is still drivable, the renter must drive it to the nearest Hertz location.

If the vehicle is not drivable, arrangements must be made with a roadside assistance provider to have the vehicle transported to the nearest Hertz location. The renter pays the provider directly for roadside assistance. All costs for transporting a damaged vehicle are in all cases the renter’s responsibility.

You can view Hertz minimum cost for damaged vehicle transport here.




If the vehicle’s key is lost, a spare key cannot be made available, rather the renter will have to change rental vehicles. The renter can contact Hertz to arrange for a replacement vehicle and must cover the cost of a replacement key if the original is not returned.

If the key is locked inside the vehicle, a service provider can sometimes gain access to the vehicle, although this is not always possible. The renter may contact Hertz if it becomes necessary to deliver a spare key to open the vehicle. However, this can be quite costly. It is the renter’s responsibility to retrieve the key if it becomes locked inside the vehicle.




If the vehicle cannot be locked, make sure all the doors and trunk are closed properly. Check all the doors, opening and closing them with care. If the problem persists, the renter should come to the nearest rental location.





The emergency brake has been set.



If you do not have a tire insurance, a damaged (punctured) tire always falls under the responsibility of the renter. The tools necessary to fix a flat are found in the vehicle’s trunk. Please note that some vehicles are not equipped with a spare tire, and instead have a patch kit and air pump.

If the flat cannot be changed without assistance, the renter should summon roadside assistance. The renter covers all associated costs. The renter also covers all costs associated with the damaged/punctured tire.




In these cases, having the vehicle transported may incur costs for the renter. If it turns out that there is no vehicle malfunction, the renter is responsible for the costs of retrieving the vehicle according to the rates of the after-hours service or roadside assistance provider.



   

AdBlue / Exhaust fluid DPF light

If the AdBlue indicator light comes on, the renter must add more AdBlue fluid before the tank empties. If the AdBlue tank empties, the vehicle cannot be started. AdBlue can be purchased at all fuel stations. At least 5 liters must be added to top up the tank. The renter presents the receipt for purchase to be reimbursed when the vehicle is returned.





Washer fluid is low.


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Driving with Elfs: what are the dangers and how to drive safely on Icelandic roads?

Last but not least, if you are more a 'visual' person, you can also watch this video made by Samgöngustofa, the Icelandic Transport Authority, and learn from 'Elfis' about how to drive safely on the Icelandic roads:

If you have further concerns about driving in Iceland

If you have any questions about driving and renting cars in Iceland, please do not hesitate to drop us a line via email or social media accounts.

We are always happy to help. We wish you a safe, unforgettable and present journey in Iceland.

Let's Go! Visit Iceland with Hertz Iceland.

Let us know if you have any questions

Keflavík International Airport Arrivals Hall(KEF)

Keflavík International Airport Arrivals Hall(KEF)

Leifur Eiríksson International Airport (KEF), 235 Reykjanesbaer,

Mon-Sun:
05:30-02:00

Reykjavík Downtown

Reykjavík Downtown

Flugvallarvegi 5, 101 Reykjavík,

Mon - Fri: 08:00 - 17:00
Sat - Sun: 08:00 - 15:00

Reykjavík Domestic Airport (RKV)

Reykjavík Domestic Airport (RKV)

Reykjavík Domestic Airport, 102 Reykjavík,

Mon - Fri: 08:00 - 17:00
Sat - Sun: 09:00 - 15:00