Driving in Iceland is really easy, like really easy! But there is a few things that you need to be aware that will make it or break it; hopefully not, because you most likely will have a rental.
– Speed limit in populated areas is usually 50km per hour, speed limits are not posted unless they change.
– Gravel roads, 80km and paved roads 90km.
– There is cameras everywhere in the city! You really don’t want a surprise bill after your trip. But since Icelanders are incredibly nice, they advice a camera is coming up in the road, so you have time to slow down (if you’re speeding).
– Roads may suddenly change to gravel, so just be careful :). don’t jam the breaks hard if that happens and you didn’t slow down you will loose control. Remember drive slowly side to side until you loose speed.
– Careful with the gravel roads because they’re narrow, even more on curves.
– Many single lane bridges, on route 1, be careful when approaching.
– Lights turn from red to amber to green, so it’s nice to give you a head start for those manuals.
– Careful with those suicidal sheeps, they love getting on the road. Seems like mama sheep goes to one side and the little lambs stay on the other so they switch constantly. BTW they may charge you if you hit one! (we didn’t, but heard stories).
– There is many roads that only 4×4 cars/trucks can go on. Look up for the signs
– Headlights should be on all day, day and night !!
– Drive off road is illegal, and they won’t kid about that
– There is no such thing as a right turn with precaution. Is illegal to turn if you don’t have a green light (if a light is present)
There is multiple rental companies of course. I got the chance to experience two different ones, as I carpooled and drove a car for some days, and I rented one from another company for the other days.
From Sixt Car Rental, their office is not 24 hours. Smallest and cheapest automatic car we could find. It was really good, everything you should expect in a rental car.
My rental was from SADCARS, funny name, yet the most interesting thing is their concept. Their rentals are used and old cars, have no specific gas policy, meaning you don’t have to bring it back with full tank, nor you get it with a full tank.
Why I picked SADCARS? You may ask, easy! because it was the most affordable option I could find, they give you a little token for gas discount at shell, the pickup of the car was literally in my hostel and I got a discount because I stayed at the hostel.
It is pricey, depending what you’re used to. In September 2016, it was an average of 191 isk per liter, which is about 724 isk or $6.32 dlls per gallon.
This is probably the best advice I will give you in this post. For the prices I’m used to, tours were expensive, so even driving by myself was a better deal than taking tours to do everything I wanted to do. Carpooling will only make it better (price wise). I used a website SAMFERDA to find my carpooling buddies. Read my post “What I learned from road tripping with strangers”.
Come back to find my South Iceland Road-trip itinerary here!
Happy exploring Iceland !