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Tips for driving in Iceland during winter!

It’s no secret to anyone that Iceland's climate is unpredictable, changing and extreme. It’s impressive and adaptable nature make this country a natural paradise and at the same time a risk if you are not prudent.
Luis and I come from a tropical country where there isn’t snow or strong winds. Driving in winter was something that we were quite worried about because we had never experienced it before. I kept reading stories of travelers with opposite experiences before the trip and decided to take the risk. So, 19 days later we survived the Icelandic weather after driving hundreds of kilometers through snowstorms, intense fog, crazy wind, getting stuck for two nights in Olafsvik for weather alerts, among others. I wanted to share some tips that can be useful if you decide to venture!
  • ALWAYS check the road conditions page with important data such as wind intensity, temperature and what kind of surface you may encounter along the way: slippery, with ice areas, difficulty driving, with snow, closed routes, among others.

  • ALWAYS check the site with weather alerts and weather conditions! Important data such as snowstorms, dangerous winds, bad weather, avalanche warnings, sand storms that can damage cars and dangerous driving conditions in some areas of Iceland are placed there. This can save you from an accident, frights or risks that are not worth taking. NEVER ignore those warnings, the climate there is something that should NOT be taken lightly, it is unpredictable, always changing. If you don’t feel safe driving under the harsh conditions of winter weather, book a tour with a travel agency, stay for a few days in another area while the storm passes or visit Iceland in summer.

  • Be flexible with your plans because they can be constantly affected, you can get stuck in a village, roads can be closed at any moment, there are many possibilities.

  • The campers and vehicles in general have to carry snow tires, the use of this tires is mandatory throughout the winter.

  • Go slowly and with caution, never drive fast, respect the traffic signals: your speed may be monitored and fines are not cheap.

  • If you’re driving with strong winds, don’t stop, maintain a slow but steady speed. If you feel the wind pushing you to one side, keep the crank as straight as possible with both hands and counteract the direction of the wind if necessary.

  • The wind often raises the snow from the ground making visibility almost nil. Go very slowly but don’t stop, keep a constant speed and with the crank as balanced as possible. If you feel that the car is slipping, the worst you can do is move it to the sides, you should keep the direction as strong and straight as possible and above all, KEEP CALM!

  • If strong winds, slippery surfaces, snowfall and other factors are combined, there is likely to be a weather alert in advance. And if for some reason Iceland decided to surprise you with an extreme situation KEEP CALM! You can register your entire journey through a digital platform in emergency access and see local recommendations. For more information, click HERE.

  • Keep emergency numbers handy, go with caution and if you feel unsafe do not drive.

  • We drove in tough weather conditions, we almost lost control of our camper van because of very slippery roads driving through snowfall and fog. We hit a car because we weren’t able to watch at all (buy a complete insurance plan, accidents can happen anytime), we were scared at some point, our rear view mirrors were frozen and had to remain calmed, we decided to sleep over for two days in a small town because of pretty bad weather conditions. I loved every minute in that amazing country and I respect nature even more after feeling a little bit of its power. Be careful but enjoy because you only live once and there isn’t enough time to be wasted.

You can also read my Experience of Iceland in 19 days!

What kind of experiences have you had ?! I'd love to hear other useful suggestions!


Photographer, aspiring film maker, dreamer, in love with the world!! Everything you want is on the other side of fear!!