HAVE A SAFE JOURNEY
Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world. Crime rate is extremely low and medical care is excellent. However, it is necessary to take precaution when travelling in Iceland due to natural hazards caused by weather and nature, where conditions can change at a moments notice.
Nature is one of Iceland's many attractions for travelers, and while beautiful, it can also be harsh and unpredictable. Therefore it is important to be prepared, and aware of possible dangers, and know how to react in—or preferably prevent—difficult situations. The Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue operates a useful website for travel in Iceland.
Icelandic weather is notoriously unpredictable and variable between regions, so always pay attention to weather forecasts and traveling conditions. This applies especially on the highlands and in winter, but caution should be exercised everywhere at all times. The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) and the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration (IRCA) provide more information.
CELANDIC WEATHER IS NOTORIOUSLY UNPREDICTABLE AND VARIABLE BETWEEN REGIONS, SO ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION TO WEATHER FORECASTS AND TRAVELING CONDITIONS.
Always bring appropriate equipment. Hiking requires special equipment, glacier exploration another and jeep safaris yet another. Your tour operator should provide information regarding equipment for group travels and guided tours. For lists of equipment for different types of activity, visit safetravel.is. These, without exceptions, include warm clothes and a communication device.
When travelling in the Icelandic interior, it is crucial that someone knows your exact travel plans. A travel plan can be reported through safetravel.is. Alternatively, make sure you leave a plan with your host or tour operator. A map, a compass and a GPS are important, particularly in isolated areas. Such travels should not be undertaken without consulting experts. Knowing where to direct can be of vital importance in rough conditions.
DRIVING IN ICELAND
When driving in Iceland, make sure the road conditions are good, as well as the condition of your vehicle. Also ensure that it suits your journey. For example, a 4x4 vehicle is essential in the highlands, where you might encounter rough terrain and unbridged waters. The highland roads are closed during winter and weather sometimes causes other roads to be closed as well. Information about road conditions and their opening/closing is accessible on IRCA's website.
Some roads in other remote areas of Iceland, such as the Westfjords and the East, are unpaved and should be navigated cautiously for your own safety and minimal damage risk to your vehicle. Strong winds can occur all year, causing difficulties for drivers so, again, always heed weather forecasts.
STICK TO THE PLAN
The Icelandic emergency number is 112. The 112 Iceland app also enables you to contact the Icelandic emergency services, and allows them to locate you, if trouble occurs. Never hesitate to use this number.
Do not be distracted by your surroundings. Losing oneself in the otherworldliness of Iceland is easy, but always remember to watch your step and keep your eyes on the road. Should you get lost, do not wander off. Staying in the same place will make it easier for rescue teams to locate you.
Above all, always prepare before traveling to and within Iceland. Familiarizing yourself with the conditions will optimize your chance of a safe travel experience in Iceland.
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