Like all places, Iceland has its own unique climate that adds to the beauty of the country, but it can also impact driving and make for some unsafe conditions during certain times of the year. With somewhat unpredictable weather sometimes occurring, it's important that you always stay up-to-date with the latest weather forecast.
You should also check road conditions before you head out, as recent storms could have affected your route. Fortunately, finding the right information isn't hard.
What You Should Know Before Visiting
As you may have expected, Icelandic road signs and road maps use standard metric units. However, there are some other aspects about driving around Iceland that most visitors simply aren't prepared for. No matter how many times you hear it, many people still arrive surprised that Iceland's weather can change so unbelievably fast.
Even during summer, the weather brings wind and rain that can creep up on you and require quick adaption of your day's plans. With high spirits, the Icelandic weather can surely add to your experience of Iceland, especially with it being one of Iceland's most unique qualities. But still, you must prioritize planning and preparedness in order to stay safe and have a good time. After all, it can even snow in July!
Where To Check Conditions
You can always trust the Icelandic Public Roads Administration's website, which is called Vegagerdin. You can also trust ICE-SAR, which is the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue. You can call Road Service directly at +354-1778 to get information about road conditions.
Planning Your Route
Whenever you're planning your day, start by checking the weather forecast and road conditions. Always follow the typical safety rules, which would include letting others know of your travel plans (where you're going and when you plan to be back). This way, in the event that your trip doesn't go as planned, you can quickly and easily be located.
When checking the forecast, always dress for the weather. And, even when bad weather isn't forecasted, play it smart and keep some warm clothes with you anyways. It's always better to be safe than sorry, and that couldn't be more true than when you're behind the wheel or going far away from home.
Also, be sure to check the hours of any gas stations and other service stations that may be along your route. Don't assume they'll be open when you're passing by, always check in advance and make note of their locations and hours so you can plan accordingly.
Aside from the changing weather, another thing that surprises most travelers is just how far apart the towns are. The fact is, Iceland remains a rural country that is unspoiled by large developments, and that's surely why most people find themselves visiting. Still, when you are visiting, you need to keep in mind that distances between two towns can be immense and most roads connecting towns in Iceland are narrow and winding.
Additionally, aside from the sheer distance between towns, most roads have low speed limits--whether they are gravel or paved. This is due to changing weather conditions and the design of the roads themselves, which do not lend themselves to fast travel. Always follow the limits and recommendations shown and, when in doubt, go slower or pull over. With the slower speed limits, realize that the long distances will take even longer to cross.
When driving on loose surfaces (including dirt and gravel) be extra careful to avoid erosive edges, bumps, and any obstructions that may be in or around the road. In winter especially, many roads become completely impassable, which is why you should always call Road Service in advance of leaving and make sure your route is safe and accessible.
Enjoy Your Trip
With the right amount of planning, you can certainly enjoy your trip around Iceland. Once you arrive, you are sure to be taken away by the quaint towns and the immense scenery that surrounds every area--not to mention the beautiful weather patterns that are just as unpredictable as life itself. If you need a car rental for your time here, contact Nordic Car Rental for assistance.