Iceland, the Land of Fire & Ice, is known for its stunning landscapes, including active volcanoes. While these natural wonders are a sight to behold, they can present challenges for travelers, especially when driving during a volcanic eruption.If you plan to drive in Iceland during a volcanic eruption, there are a few things you should know to stay safe:
Understanding volcanic activity in Iceland
Before delving into driving tips, it's crucial to understand the nature of Iceland's volcanic activity. Iceland is located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, making it one of the most volcanically active places on Earth. Eruptions can occur without much warning, but the Icelandic Met Office (IMO) closely monitors all seismic activity and provides regular updates.
Tip 1: Stay informed
Road conditions in Iceland can change rapidly, especially during a volcanic eruption. There may be ash fall, which can make roads slippery and difficult to drive on. There may also be gas emissions, the inhalation of which can be dangerous. Check road conditions and the weather forecast before you go, and be prepared to adjust your plans if necessary.
Check regularly for updates with the Icelandic Met Office (IMO) and local media for any seismic activity. It's a good idea to listen to the radio for these updates so you can stay informed.
Tip 2: Plan your route carefully
Avoid areas near active volcanic sites.
Use the Highway Administration website for information on road closures to plan and adjust your route accordingly.
If you drive with children,explain to them the risks of driving near a volcanic eruption and what to do in an emergency.
Want to make life easier? There are already a wide range of tours to explore the Reykjanes eruption. Choose your favorite!
Tip 3: Equip your vehicle
Equip your vehicle with a reliable GPS. Take a first aid kit, food, water, and other necessities with you in case you get stranded.
Consider renting a 4x4 vehicle for better driving on gravel roads and in adverse conditions.
If you drive a motorhome, secure your belongings and check that the fuel tanks are full.
If you are driving in poor visibility, use your hazard lights to warn other drivers of your presence.
Tip 4: Protect yourself from ash
Keep windows and vents closed to prevent ash from entering the vehicle.
If you get stuck in the ash fallout, turn off the engine and wait for the ash to clear.
Bring dust masks and eye protection in case a lot of ash falls.Volcanic ash can be harmful if inhaled or if it comes into contact with the eyes.
Regularly clean the headlights and windshield for optimal visibility.
Tip 5: Follow the instructions of the local authorities
Obey all instructions and warnings from local authorities.
Never attempt to drive in restricted areas around an erupting volcano. The risk is not worth the Instagram photo!
Tip 6: Drive slowly and carefully.
Road conditions can be bad so it is important to drive slowly and carefully. Be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to stop suddenly. If you are not comfortable driving in the conditions, it is best to pull over and wait until the roads improve.
Tip 7: Be respectful of the environment.
The eruption is a natural event, and it is important to be respectful of the environment. Don't litter, don't disturb wildlife, and don't take anything that doesn't belong to you.
Tip 8: Stay away from the eruption site.
The site of the rash is the most dangerous area and it is important to stay away from it. If you are near the site of the eruption, it is important to follow the instructions of the authorities.
Tip 10: Tell someone where you are going.
Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. This will help if you need to be rescued.
By following these tips, you can stay safe while driving in Iceland during a volcanic eruption. Remember to be prepared, be cautious and be respectful of the environment.
Here are some additional resources you can refer to:
The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration (The road construction)
Icelandic Meteorological Office (Icelandic Meteorological Office)
Driving in Iceland during a volcanic eruption can be a daunting experience, but with proper preparation and awareness, it is possible to drive safely on the country's roads. Remember, the key is to stay informed, plan your route carefully, outfit your vehicle, protect yourself from ash, and follow instructions from local authorities. Safe travels!