Iceland has and is experiencing an unpresidented increase of tourism. In average, we are talking about a 30% annual increase. More and more guests are renting cars to experience the country which is the best way really.
So with the increase, it’s not strange that car accidents involving tourists have been increasing too. But the number for 2015 shows a different picture. The rate of increase of tourism and accidents haven’t been following each other. Unfortunately, accidents have increased more and for 2015, there is a severe difference.
Read more: Roads in Iceland
As we can see in the chart above, the biggest increase is from September to May, during the, at times, harsh conditions we have here in Iceland. Many are not used to driving in snow, This could be explained by the tourist season have been spreading over the whole year but this is not the case here. That spread took place years ago.
We have to study what caused the accidents and as the next diagram will show, the major cause is driving condition. Speeding might not be a big issue but driving faster than the conditions allow is a huge issue. Slippery roads, ice conditions, blind hills and even cars blowing off the roads are all situations one can drive safely in as long as one keeps the speed the driver is fully comfortably with and you know you have full control of your rental car. If the sign says allowed top speed is 80km/h (50mph), that does not mean you need to keep that speed. It’s of the utmost importance to keep the speed you have full control over your car, no matter what is under your tires. The road twist and turns, bad visibility, unpaved roads, bumpy roads, single lane bridges and tunnels, free roaming animals are all reasons to slow down, sometimes almost down to a halt.
Read more: Rental car damage assessment
We know how exciting it is to discover a new country, especially when you are driving freely around and there are new landscape, new territory behind every turn to discover and one wants to cram in as much as possible into your vacation in Iceland. In 2015, 10% of all tourist involved accidents were due to lack of sleep. That’s a big number.
Make sure you get your rest and if you feel tired, ask your travel partner to take over the wheel or if you are the only registered driver, make a stop, have lunch or dinner, take a nap. Also, snow and the eternal summer light can be tiresome to the eye so make you you are rested at all times.
Read more: Speeding & Parking offences in Iceland
In 2015, there were 5 fatal accidents (tourists), 26 seriously injured and 178 with minor injuries. None of the fatal injures happened in cities and villages, all of them out on the countryside. Only 8% of the major and minor injuries happened within city limits or in villages.
Again, by far, the most common reason for accidents among tourists is driving faster than conditions allow. That is so easily prevented and we want you to go home with happy memories of a wonderful holiday in Iceland, not going home all wrapped up in bandages or worse. Just read the environment, the road, the weather and take it easy. You are in no rush for you are on a holiday. Don’t try to squeeze in as much as possible and do not stress. If you can’t get to see everything you want, come back again and enjoy the parts you skipped.
If you have any questions, concerns or thoughts, feel free to ask our very friendly staff at either Keflavik or Reykjavik. You can send us an E-mail and we will try to straighten out any questions you might have. We are here to do our best to ensure you will have a fantastic, safe and memorable holiday in Iceland.
Safe travels! #GoIceland