man driving in iceland, the hand on the wheel and the snowy icelandic landscape in the background

Which Side Of The Road In Iceland?

The main reason travelers deter from renting a car in Iceland is that they want to avoid driving on the other side of the road. If you live in one of the countries that do drive on the opposite side of the road, there is nothing to worry about. It is possible for every traveler to drive a rental car in Iceland and we are going to tell you why!

You will drive on the right side of the road when driving your Iceland rental car. It was not always this way, before 1960 Icelanders drove on the left side of the road.

But then, Iceland had a transportation infrastructure project taking place. It was rumored to be too expensive to make any changes to it once complete. This resulted in Icelanders driving on the right side of the road, like most of Europe.

rental car on the road in Iceland in the middle of Icelandic landscapes (mountains, green plains and sea)

What countries drive on the right side?

Do you ever wonder what other countries drive on the right side of the road? The United States, Canada, Chile, Greece, Germany, Italy, and other European countries drive on the right side of the road. So these travelers won’t have an issue when visiting Iceland.

Which countries drive on the left side?

What about the left side? Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and a majority of the Caribbean Islands are a few to name. It can be intimidating to drive on the other side of the road, but we do have some tips and tricks for you to use.

Is it your first time driving on the right side of the road?

We understand how this can be overwhelming, but it's not as bad as you may think! Luckily, most of Iceland can be driven on one highway, Ring Road. Making it a bit easier for those driving on the right side of the road for the first time.

Just drive slowly and allow people to pass who are more comfortable. No one is going to be judging you since there are most likely others in the same situation. After a few hours, you will start getting used to it.

If you are planning on exploring Iceland’s lesser-traveled areas, you can! Most of Iceland’s F-Roads, which are mountainous gravel off-roads, can be safe for those who drive on the other side of the road. A lot of these routes have one-way traffic making it easier to navigate.

How can I prepare for driving on the other side of the road?

If you are new to the right side of the road there are a few ways to prepare. While obviously, you can’t practice in your home country, you can make a checklist each morning.

Rental car on the road in Iceland, with a view of the mountains and water

Become Aware Of Your Surroundings

Instead of jumping in the car and hitting the road, take a minute to be aware of your surroundings. Glance out your mirror a few times to familiarize yourself with the cars being on the other side.

Take Advantage Of Your Co-Pilot

If you are traveling with another person, have them help you. They can pay attention to other cars that you might not see and prepare you for roundabouts and turns.

Focus At Stop Signs & Red Lights

While it may seem obvious, stop signs and red lights can trip people up when driving on the other side of the road, especially when you have to turn. Just remember to do the opposite of what you would do when driving in your country.

You can also review Iceland’s Traffic Signs to get familiar before traveling. That way you can spend more time enjoying your road trip, instead of stressing throughout it.

Avoid Manual Cars

Luckily we live in a time where most vehicles are automatic. If possible, avoid Manual Cars when renting a car in a country that drives on the opposite side of the road.

Manual cars can cause more stress since you have to use your opposite hand. Automatic Cars and 4X4 vehicles are the way to go since all you have to focus on is driving along the open road in front of you.

City Driving

Driving through a city such as Reykjavik can be a bit difficult for those used to driving on the left side of the road. That is because there are a lot of turns and stops in more populated areas.

You could also park your Reykjavik rental car in one of the garages and explore by foot if it's too much. The expansive open roads will be easier for you to navigate, especially when getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road.

view on the lake quay of Reykjavik and its downtown houses

Iceland is a vast country and exploring by car is the number one way to adventure through it. We recommend all Iceland visitors pick up a car rental and hit the road. That way you can explore Iceland’s remote hot springs and enormous waterfalls, all on your own time. You can always ask one of our specialists for tips when driving on the other side of the road too!


Is it difficult to drive in Iceland?

Iceland is rated as one of the easier countries to drive through, thanks to its paved roads and famous routes.

Can you drive with a US license in Iceland?

Driver Licenses issued from the U.S.A, Canada, and the European Economic Area are valid in Iceland.

Do they speak English in Iceland?

English is taught as a second language in Iceland and almost every Icelander speaks the language fluently.

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