car rental return

River Crossing

Where might I have to cross rivers?

River crossing in Iceland is mostly associated with the F-roads. The F-roads are routes across the highlands of Iceland. These roads are unpaved and most of them have unbridged river crossing.

It is only when travelling off the main road system where you find routes which require river crossing. There are no unbridged rivers on the main roads in Iceland, for example on the Ring Road.

Is my car suitable for crossing rivers?

This is common, but a tricky question. Which type of 4x4 is suitable for river crossing can differ depending on the river and the condition of that river. On top of that, water levels in rivers can change quickly and are not always the same day by day or even hour by hour. Meaning that some rivers can be impassible for any car, regardless of their size.

Before crossing a river

Before crossing a river make sure that no other route is possible. Be extremely careful when crossing rivers as it can be dangerous, and the simplest mistake can drown the car. Keep in mind that damages caused by water or river crossing aren´t covered by insurances.

When crossing a river

Drive very slowly but without hesitation so that water doesn´t reach and damage the engine or the electrical system of the car. Use 1st or 2nd gear only, never take your foot of the gas and never apply the clutch in the middle of the river.

If you are unexperienced, you may want to have someone to guide you across. If possible, wait for others to cross the river at the same time as you. Then you will have assistance if needed.

You can also walk across the river, ahead of the car. The rule of thumb is, if you can´t walk across, you can´t drive across.

What can I do to minimize the risk of crossing river?

When traveling in Iceland you should always check road and weather conditions. This is especially important when traveling on F-roads. See if the roads are clear or if there are any signs that may cause problems. By doing some research you might avoid major problems.

Most accident occur due to human mistakes. The best advice we can offer is to know your limits and do not take changes.