If there is one statement you need to read in this blog post, then it is DO NOT attempt driving to the centre of Iceland on your own, and I am dead serious about this advice, every year there are people getting lost or stuck in their big 4WD, and dies! Stay on Iceland’s Ring Road, or Route 1 as it’s officially known. It circles around the island for 1,339 kilometres and connects many of the best attractions in Iceland.
The ring round can at times seem easy, but beware. Huge trucks driving at high speed, two lanes which turns into one lane, sheep and raindeers crossing the road, blind hills and curves, narrow passages, icy or gravel parts, in short, beware, what at one moment seem straightforward can easily change. There is little doubt that driving Iceland’s Ring Road is easiest anytime between March and November, but it’s definitely possible to do it with certain considerations if you’re visiting Iceland in the winter. This blog post is all about these considerations, take some extra precautions, think and stay safe.
In Iceland, the weather can change in the blink of an eye. Roads can become impassible and distances that Google Maps say are 5 hours easily become 10 hours. I am quite used to driving on icy roads, and usually, do not opt for studded tires, nor do I go for 4WD, as they are pricey and usually isn’t needed.
Planning for the unexpected is wise, and having winter-grade sleeping bags in the car can be advisable, making sure you can stand being stuck for hours. Going off the grid and disconnecting sounds idyllic, but it isn’t smart. A fully charged phone and charger cables are wise, should you end up in a situation where you need to call for help. Iceland has an emergency alert system that sends out text messages, even to pay-as-you-go SIM card numbers. Another must-have app is the https://safetravel.is/112-iceland-app, it allows for broadcasting your location in emergency situations. Planning ahead is much needed, and keeping up to date with traffic conditions an absolute must. http://www.road.is/ is your go-to source for road conditions.
When you see a gas station, then its time to “Fill up”. There are still stretches where gas stations are few and far between, so be sure to top up the tank when you spot them. Should you get stuck is it also nice being able to keep the heat on longer. Another word of advice, should you get stuck, then STAY at the car, do not try to reach for a house.
Have fun… stay safe.