Driving during the winter in Iceland can be a lottery at times: one minute the weather will be sunny and calm, then within minutes can change to being snowy and windy. For this reason, it is necessary to be well prepared for all circumstances. For all that though, the landscape during winter is a spectacular, pure, sparkling wonderland. It´s maybe no surprise that the directors of Game of Thrones choose to film the winter scenes here.
Winter driving here is both exciting and challenging at the same time. A sudden cover of ice on the road requires full focus on driving all the time, so please let the passenger take care of capturing the beautiful landscape on film! If you want to stop and enjoy the view, please park the car in a safe, designated parking spot and not just anywhere at the side of the road.
Use your common sense, especially when conditions are bad. Enjoy the countryside and surroundings but don´t become too bold in good conditions – even though you may be driving a 4WD vehicle. You don´t want to waste your valuable holiday time waiting to be rescued because you got into trouble.
Tips for winter driving
Take care. Reduce your average speed when there is snow/ ice on the road.
If you have to brake in ice/ snow, do it gently. Do not brake suddenly on icy roads as this can cause the wheels to lock and you being out of control.
If you get stuck in snow do not press hard on the gas pedal. The best way to get out of deep snow is to get someone to push on the car while the driver presses steadily on the accelerator.
Try to avoid driving in remote areas during the night.
Make a note of your route, especially the road numbers and any villages, so if you do have to call for assistance you can give us a good idea of your location.
This is what we suggest you should have in the car when travelling in winter: Warm coat, boots, hat, gloves and a window scraper. If there is a lot of snow forecast we recommend having a shovel in the car.
If you get stuck in a snow drift, please remember that you are liable for all recovery costs!
At the weekend assistance may take longer to source. Especially after 17:00 hrs.
Before heading out on your journey always take a careful look at the weather forecast and road conditions. All you need to know is found here:
en.vedur.is – The weather forecast for Iceland. The three maps on the front page tell all. Always check the wind speed map first! As well as all the pertinent weather information you need for the day there is also a mine of information on the site, including earthquake activity and where in the country the Aurora might be seen.
road.is – Has detailed, colour coded information about all the roads in Iceland and the conditions are updated regularly. There is also another page that shows the location of over 100 webcams that each gives several views of the road and surroundings.
safetravel.is – SafeTravel provides lots of useful information about travelling safely in Iceland whether by road, overland or sea.