Posted by: neilh10 | October 6, 2011

The first snow, and driving to the Westfjords in wintertime.

Whilst here in the UK we have been basking in unseasonably warm temperatures, over in Iceland winter seems to have arrived.

Primera on snow (from flickr).

Checking out the road administration maps, both the northern and the southern routes in to Westfjords are still open. The mountain passes around Holmavik have seen some snowfall, and this is reflected in the route being coloured white on the road administration map, a screenshot of which is captured below.

Whilst you can probably get to the Westfjords in a regular 2WD car, I recommend that guests hire a 4×4 in wintertime. Earlier this year I got stuck on the mountain in a snowstorm in a Nissan primera (like the one in the unfortunate example above), and it was rather embarrassing trying to reverse down the mountain, being overtaken all the time by Icelanders in jeeps, and in a total state of indifference to our predicament.

If you are stuck on the road, you can call the road administration on 522 1000, who will be helpful (and sympathetic) to your difficulties. If you are in a real emergency, call 112. Before you drive anywhere in Iceland this winter, it’s a good idea to make sure that you have a fully charged mobile phone, a decent map, and supplies of food and water, just in case you get stuck.

But don’t be put off the idea of driving in Iceland, even in Winter. Statistics show that the road network in Iceland is remarkably safe, by comprison with other countries. with one of the lowest number of road deaths in the world.

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