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A leisurely drive around midnight in Iceland. PIC Nate Bolt

A leisurely drive around midnight in Iceland. PIC Nate Bolt

W e know the feeling. Sunny day and you are cruising along what constitutes a highway in Iceland. Life is good and the future bright. Then suddenly a flash. Couple of weeks later you face a hefty fine.

Quite a number of foreigners get pulled over by traffic police in Iceland each year for speeding and have to pay a hefty sum on the spot before continuing the journey. The amount varies and will not make or break the vacation but nevertheless always a bother. Especially since the speed limit on highways is limited to just 90 km. This applies everywhere in the country apart from towns and cities where the speed limit is 30 to 60 depending on the road and neighborhood.

But here´s the good news so to speak. Police in Iceland is short-staffed to put it mildly and one can easily travel the whole Ring Road for days without ever catching a glimpse of any cops. However, you should be aware of speed cameras on certain routes. Take special care in the Hvalfjordur tunnel where there seem to be more cameras than stars in the sky. Cameras are also found on the way from the tunnel to Borgarnes. A couple of them will also film you, smiling or not, en route from Hveragerdi to Selfoss and vice-versa.

The local law states that law enforcement officials must warn drivers about possible speed checks and there are certainly signs to alert you all over the place. But these are only in Icelandic and could be misunderstood by foreigners.

Roughly put, as one Ferrari-driving indiviydual told us recently, the trick is to put the pedal to the metal anywhere in 200 km. radius around Reykjavik. Outside of that area you are pretty much good as gold even if you enjoy serious speeds regarding police. However, you might hit a deer or sheep or even a human in the process…