Driving in Uninhabited Areas

Off-road driving causes serious damage to the land

The diverse nature of Iceland is one of the principal attractions for those who travel here. The land is extremely fragile in many places and reckless driving can cause so much damage to the natural environment that it takes years and even decades for it to recover. It is of the utmost importance that travelers respect Icelandic nature when travelling around the country!

The soil in Iceland is volcanic and therefore very loose. Consequently, the wheels of vehicles and other means of transport easily leave deep tracks in the soil, whether the ground is covered with vegetation or has no vegetation at all.

It is very difficult to eradicate the destruction caused by off-road driving. Iceland is located just south of the Arctic Circle, where the growing season is very short and it can take decades for vegetation to recover from any damage. The same may be said about sandy areas and areas with no vegetation, where damage can take even longer to disappear than in areas where vegetation covers the ground.

Tire tracks disfigure the appearance of the land and can also become channels for water, thus advancing soil erosion and the denudation of vegetation. Off-road tire tracks also attract other travelers and encourages them to drive off-road escalating the damage even further.

You should only drive on roads and marked trails and never outside of them. Walk or go back if it is not feasible to continue further by driving.

Make sure to research the route you plan to use. Use road maps to organise your trip before starting. Respect seasonal traffic restrictions in uninhabited areas and in the highlands and monitor announcements on road conditions.

Information about road conditions can be obtained via tel. 1777 or on the website of the Icelandic Road Administration.

Off-road driving is strictly prohibited and is punishable by fines or imprisonment!