What are the speed limits in Iceland?

What are the speed limits in Iceland?

Leah BIlquist Leah BIlquist
20. Jul 2022 (Updated: 4. Oct 2022) ∼ 6 min. read


Traveling to another country can be confusing at times. Whether you are trying to understand a different language or navigating through a brand new city, confusion can be a common feeling. This also happens when driving around a new place. Figuring out street signs and road directions will seem overwhelming at first. That is why we are going to discuss Iceland’s speed limits, while also giving you some tips and tricks to help you feel confident during your next road trip. The last thing we want is for you to travel home with a hardy ticket from an Iceland police officer. 

First off, there is not one set speed limit in Iceland. Depending on where you are in the country, the speed could be significantly different. So let’s go through some common spots, so you can be more prepared when picking up your rental car from Go Car Rental.


Reykjavik

Driving through a city can be a bit chaotic at times. People fill the streets, cross the roads, or bike riders can even breeze past you. Reykjavik recently lowered its speed limit in 2021 to 50km or 30 Mph. Certain streets in the city will have lower speeds between 30km - 40 km or 20 Mph. This way you can slow down and be mindful of the people around you.

The City of Reykjavík released a statement, saying that “The lower the speed of a vehicle, the easier it is for the driver to prevent an accident because in the time it takes to react to an unexpected event, the faster the speed, the longer the distance traveled. Traffic speed is, therefore, a very important variable in any discussion of traffic safety.” This also goes along with the common saying “Stay Alert, Stay Alive”

In addition to accidents, lower speeds result in lower noise levels of passing cars, as well as air pollution. So make sure to pay attention next time you are driving through Reykjavik. Plan to not go over 30 mph and be on the lookout for street signs, people, and more.

Reykjavik road in iceland

Paved Roads

Paved roads in Iceland will bring you to most places you are trying to go, especially if you are exploring. Fortunately, this is the one place where you can roll the windows down and enjoy that crisp Icelandic air, at a higher speed. The speed limit here is normally 90 km, which is around 55 mph.

Ring Road, also known as Route One, is one of the most populated roads in the country. Luckily,  all 1322 kilometers or 821 miles are paved. Road 95 in Iceland, which goes through a lot of the country, is paved as well, for most of it. The road is 95% asphalt, except for a portion in the Eastern Region of the country.

Driving on a paved road in iceland

Gravel Roads

Gravel road speed limits are slower than paved highways. This is mostly due to the gravel being more difficult to drive on. Gravel roads are also known as rural roads, it is when a paved road suddenly changes into gravel. More accidents occur in these areas, due to the quick change in road conditions. This can catch drivers off guard, causing some to slam on their brakes or lose slight control of the wheel.

If you find yourself driving on gravel or rural roads and do not see a speed limit sign, plan on going 80 km/h. Which is about 45-50 mph. Driving this speed limit can keep you and your rental car safe. Gravel can kick up rocks at faster speeds too. Let’s face it, you do not want to bring back your car with a huge crack in the windshield, so just slow down and enjoy the enchanting Iceland landscape. 

Gravel road in Iceland

Residential Areas

If you are out in the Icelandic countryside, be present when driving through residential areas. This normally applies to smaller towns that you will find along your route. The speed limit through them is normally around 30km or 20 mph. Whatever you do, avoid flying through a neighborhood where there could be kids running around or even livestock. Always be respectful when passing through residential areas, as they are homes to Icelanders and businesses. 

Cars in Residential Area in Reykjavik Iceland

Why It’s Important

So why is the speed limit so important in Iceland? There are a few reasons. First and foremost, the safety of you and others. The speed limits are in place to protect you and other people on the road. They also help guard livestock that is generally found alongside the roads of Iceland. If you see sheep, slow down and be constantly on the lookout. Sometimes sheep even end up crossing the road to join the rest of the herd that is on the other side. Sheep are also known to run wild during the summer months until the Sheep Round-Up takes place. If you do hit an animal on the road, the driver is normally held liable for it. 

cars driving a road in Iceland while sheep in in the way

Speeding Tickets

Sometimes distractions happen when you are driving and you may end up going a bit over the speed limit. We’ve all been there at one point or another. But, what happens if you get caught going faster than you should in Iceland? 

You basically will pay a very large fine. In America, speeding tickets can range from low to high depending on how fast you are going. In Iceland, the cost of a speeding ticket varies by speed, location, and more. The average speeding ticket is anywhere from $195- $460. If you are going well over the speed limit, around 20 mph, your ticket could be between $615-$690.


Police officer in Iceland with a speed camera

Now that you know the rules of Iceland’s speed limit we hope it provides you with peace of mind. Get ready to pick up your rental car and begin your Iceland Roadtrip. Don’t stress too much about the speeding laws. Just remember to be aware of where you are and obey the common laws. Keep a lookout for speed limit signs throughout your journeys and always go slower around residential areas. Iceland has so much land for you to explore, so following these rules can help keep you and others safe. Buckle up and get ready to see all of the Best Places To Visit In Iceland.


The article was written by: Leah BIlquist.