Iceland Campervan and Motorhome driving tips and information for a successful Road Trip.
We care about your safety.
Please read these instructions carefully.
McRent Iceland has provided us with this really useful guide.
Driving in Iceland is different.
Many roads in Iceland are loose gravel roads. Others are made of asphalt. The surface of the gravel roads can be very loose, especially along the sides. You must therefore slow down whenever you go from an asphalt road to a gravel road and show precaution when approaching an oncoming car by slowing down.
The Icelandic roads and bridges can be very narrow.
While driving on gravel roads speed should be kept to a minimum and driving over rivers that do not have bridges is strictly forbidden.
The Weather can Change suddenly in Iceland:
The most important thing to keep in mind while in Iceland is to be aware of the fact that the weather can change suddenly and that the wind speed can become very high. It is strictly forbidden to drive the your campervan or motorhome when the wind speed exceeds 15 meters per second.
If it is really windy then find a parking place where you can park the campervan or motorhome facing the wind. Stay in the campervan until the weather calms down.
Don’t Drive on Highland roads. Driving on highlands roads is prohibited! Driving on all roads marked with an “F” strictly is prohibited!
Iceland has many gravel roads, there are plenty of narrow roads and bridges too. You need to keep your speed down and drive slowly. It is not just the wind that makes driving sometimes challenging as rough weather can also make driving conditions difficult.
There is also the chance of wandering animals along country roads. This is great for photos but not so great if you are driving too fast.
Driving Speed in Iceland:
Even if the maximum speed on gravel roads is 80 km/per hour some of the roads do not bear that speed. We advise you to slow down and always drive according to conditions.
You can expect animals, like cows, sheep and even reindeers, on the road anytime.
Never stop the campervan on blind hills, bridges or other places were the road visibility is bad or where the roads narrow.
The Icelandic weather.
The Icelandic weather can change suddenly. If the weather forecast is bad and your safety or the safety of the vehicle could be in danger you need to keep the following things in mind:
- • Never drive the vehicle if the wind speed reaches more than 15 meters per second.
• If the wind speed exceeds 15 meters per second you must stop the campervan and position it facing the wind. The campervan or motorhome is not suitable for driving in high winds and can easily be blown off the road.
• Try to “read” the wind. Look for waves on small lakes, pay attention to trees or grass along the roadside. The rain can help you to estimate the wind direction.
- Remember that the wind that blows onto the side of the campervan or motorhome is the most dangerous one.
• Remain in the vehicle until the weather has calmed down.
• If you are in doubt whether to continue with your journey or not because of the weather conditions, you should remain where you are.
• Call McRent Iceland emergency phone +354 662 6700 for information if you have any questions.
- • You can also call the Public Road Service in Iceland if you have any doubts over the weather conditions: +354 1778. Please note that you will get an answering machine, which is in English, where you will be able to find your location by pressing the numbers on your cell phone as requested.
• Ask the locals. Icelanders love to talk about the weather and they are helpful.
• If you choose to ignore the weather conditions you do so at your own risk.
• If you have a chance to get on-line please always remember to check the weather forecast following these two links:
• For those of you with an iPhone or an android telephone you can download a weather APP: https://vedrid.is/. We also sell Icelandic SIM cards and internet USB sticks.
The following places in Iceland are windier than other or riskier of a sudden gust of wind (note that the list is not extensive)
- South of Eyjafjöll mountain (Steinar)
- Snæfellsnes (South; Suðursveit, North; Grundarfjörður, Fróðárheiði)
- South of Vatnajökull glacier; From Svínafell – Hof (Eastern winds)
- Kvísker (N-West winds)
- East Coast from Lón to Berufjörður (Vattarnes, Hvalnes)
- Ingólfsfjall (Near Selfoss)
- Ennisháls (Strandir)
- What to do in case of an emergency in Iceland:1. Check the the status of passengers.
2. Call 1-1-2 for emergency help.
3. Where are you?
4. What happened?
5. Who is calling?
6. Do not hang up until 1-1-2 says it is OK!
• 112 registers automatically where you are calling from.
• There are few areas in Iceland where you cannot use your mobile phone.
These areas are few. To get connection you may have to walk a few steps or drive 1-2 km.
• There is a first aid kit in the car or campervan.
• CALL McRent Iceland EMERGENCY PHONE: +354 662 6700
• You can call the Road Service phone: +354 1778. Please note that you will get an answering machine, which is in English, where you will be able to find your location by pressing the numbers on your cell phone as requested.
• We have available internet USB sticks and Icelandic SIM cards, which are not expensive and we highly recommend that you will purchase, not the least for your own safety.
Campsites in Iceland:
Icelandic camping places welcomes touring campers, campervans, motorhomes and RV’s. There are a few safety tips you should be aware of when driving a larger vehicle such as a campervan or motorhome onto a campsite:
• Be aware of the possible drop from the highway to the access lane to the camp site as it can damage the campervan or affect your steering ability.
• Be careful of children playing and running on the street.
• When finding a spot to park and backing the car, make sure that nothing is behind the car, like children or a small tent. Get another passenger to watch you reverse and be mindful of trees above the campervan too.
• Make sure that your children know where you are parked so they don’t get lost.
• Use child harnesses, safety nets or lock the car door if your children have the habit of sleepwalking.
• Note: if the camping grounds are packed with vehicles using 220 volts and you don’t have access to electricity you should switch to gas for the refrigerator.
Driving tips for driving a campervan or motorhome in Iceland:
Remember that the camper is bigger and more difficult to manoeuvre than a normal size vehicle and can react violently to wind Please do not ignore instructions regarding the wind speed.
When reversing the vehicle into a parking place it is good that one passenger goes out to assist the driver while reversing the vehicle. Be aware that the camper is higher and wider than a normal vehicle, drive slowly and carefully.
- Never attempt a river crossing in a campervan or motorhome.
- Never drive on F-roads.
- Drive very slowly before entering camp sites as the entrance can be steep and you can damage the bumper or vehicle.
- All passengers must wear safety belts while driving.
- Never get out of your seats while the vehicle is moving.
• Icelandic roads: The Icelandic road system is not good in places, particularly in the North- West. On bumpy roads reduce your speed considerably as driving too fast in poor conditions can damage the camper and cause you delays.
• Driving speed: Be aware of speed limits and slow down before meeting another vehicle, particularly on gravel roads. Speeding fines in Iceland are high and there are road side speed cameras, particularly in tunnels.
• When switching gas bottles: Remember to switch off the gas to both the heater and the fridge and lit the stove for 20-30 seconds. Dirt in gas can clog the nozzles in the fridge and the heater.
• When opening up house part doors and compartments: Remember to remove the keys from the lock, dents are costly.
• Heavy objects in cabinets: Never place heavy objects, such as binoculars or large cameras, in cabinets over the seating group table or the kitchen table. Cabinet doors can open and the objects can fall out and damage the surface of the tables.
• Windows and sunroofs: Always make sure that the windows and sunroofs are securely locked before driving, sudden gusts of wind can rip off windows and sunroofs if they are not securely locked.
Useful websites for information about travelling around Iceland in a Campervan or Motorhome:
In case you are uncertain of the situation you are in, regarding weather or road conditions call:
00354 662 6700,we are at your service. Drive safely and enjoy your holiday in Iceland. McRent Iceland ehf.
PREPARATIONS FOR CAMPING IN WINTER in a campervan or motorhome.
Always keep the vehicle warm. While driving a motorhome when temperatures can drop below 0 degrees celsius it is very important to keep the vehicle warm at all times to avoid damage to the water system. There is a risk of water pipes splitting if they are allowed to freeze.
There are safety systems in campervans and motorhome which are designed to empty the water from the boiler, that heats up the water in the vehicle. This safety mechanism is automatically activated when the temperature drops below 3 degrees celsius and you will not be able to reset the system unless inside temperature reaches minimum 7 degrees celsius.
As the vehicle always needs to be kept warm, it is best to adjust the system down to gas and water heating setting. This way you are heating the water and the air inside the vehicle at the same time. Keeping both systems frost free, you warm and with ready warm water supply.
The tyres on the vehicle are spiked winter tyres. These tires offer optimal grip on slippery surfaces, but you still have to take extra care driving in icy and difficult conditions.
If you really want to go off-road and onto the F roads then a 4×4 camper is a must. These are Toyota Hilux with roof tents.
Discounts on campervan and motorhome rental in Iceland.
Book campervans and Motorhomes in Iceland on www.campervans.com