Stay Safe in Iceland
112 is the number to call in an emergency.
Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world, so you’re unlikely to be robbed or harassed. This does not apply to Reykjavik, which has seen an increase in petty theft and nighttime violence. When enjoying the nightlife, use caution and be attentive.
Natural hazards provide the biggest threat to visitors in Iceland. Always follow the signs’ instructions. Use common sense if there are no indications. Every year, a large number of visitors are injured or murdered in the mountains or on the seas, generally as a result of warnings that are ignored. If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t approach a glacier front, strong waves on the shore, or a major waterfall, and don’t go on glaciers without appropriate training and equipment. Although Iceland is a volcanically active nation, the odds of being caught in an eruption are very remote.
Be prepared for a rapid change in the weather while hiking or skiing in Iceland, since changes may happen very fast. If you’re uncertain about the weather, ask a local or take a guided tour. Even in the most hazardous areas, Icelanders are trained to appreciate nature’s power and to take care of themselves outside in the wilderness from infancy, therefore you won’t see any fences or warning signs.
Driving in Iceland may be challenging, if not hazardous. Make sure you’re aware of local circumstances and that your car and driving abilities are adequate. Many roads (including sections of the major country road) are unpaved and may become slick with mud in the summer. There have been a number of incidents involving foreigners who were unprepared on Icelandic roads, some of which were deadly. Because the roads are calm and the distances between towns are vast, some Icelanders take advantage of this by driving extremely fast. Sheep often wander close or even on roadways, so keep your eyes out for them. Sheep prefer to wait for vehicles before crossing the road, so keep an eye out for them.
For 4×4 vehicles exclusively, road numbers beginning with a F are typically basic dirt pathways created with a road scraper, and river crossings are not unusual. From October until mid-June, several F-roads are blocked owing to deteriorating road conditions. These routes are off-limits to non-four-wheel-drive cars.
Highways have speed restrictions of 90 km/h on paved roads and 80 km/h on dirt ones.
Rules and regulations
The traffic rules and restrictions are largely the same as in the rest of Europe. Foreign tourists should be informed that police checks are frequent and that penalties are severe, and they should pay particular attention to the following rules:
The rule of giving way is universal. All traffic from your right hand side has the right of way on roads lacking the “Yellow Diamond” sign; you must yield to traffic from any road to your right, save in private areas such as parking lots. Even in daytime, headlights are required.
In rural regions and on highways, the speed limit is 90 km/h, while in urban areas, it is 50 km/h.
When driving circumstances change, there are no explicit regulations for changing the speed limit (as in some other nations). In conditions such as fog, severe rain, or snow, the driver is required to reduce speed to a safe level.
It is not a good idea to drink and drive. You must not have a blood alcohol content of more than 0.2. (0.02 percent ). One little beer can enough. Violations of this regulation will result in a large fine, a lengthy (or even indefinite) suspension of the driver’s license, and jail time.
Overtaking is only permitted on lengthy straightaways with ample of sight on a typical Icelandic two-lane road with a small shoulder. Only overtake if absolutely required; otherwise, consider taking a brief rest.
It is considered rude to use one’s car horn and should only be done in an emergency.
It is unlawful to make a right turn on a red light.
Find a pull-out (occasionally marked with a blue sign with a white ‘M’), a designated parking place (blue sign with a white ‘P’), a picnic area, or a farmer’s road instead of stopping on the highway. Stopping on a road with a speed limit of 90 km/h is hazardous and illegal, yet you’ll see a lot of foolish visitors do it.
The Icelandic Narcotics Police have a severe drug policy, with a minimum fine of about 70,000 kr ($517/€476/£341 in April 2015) for possession of less than 1 gram (3/100 of an oz.) of any illicit substance.
Stay Healthy in Iceland
Iceland’s medical facilities are excellent, and European Union individuals with an EHIC and passport are eligible for discounts. To be eligible for medical assistance, Scandinavian nationals must provide a valid passport.
If EU nationals do not have the required papers, the entire cost of medical care will be charged to them. Check with your travel insurance provider to see whether medical care is covered outside of the EU.
In Iceland, infectious illnesses aren’t a concern. Inoculations are not needed unless you are traveling from a country where infectious illnesses such as cholera are prevalent.
Accidental injury or poor weather are the most probable threats to your health. Always make sure you have enough of warm and waterproof clothes on hand. Clothing selection is very essential in Iceland, and it may even be a matter of life and death. In geothermal regions, use additional caution: what seems to be solid ground may not be, and you may fall into potentially fatal hot water if it breaks from under your feet.
Iceland’s water quality is good, and tap water is always safe to drink.
Food poisoning is uncommon among visitors since public kitchens are extremely clean.