Iceland Mag

2 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


More foreign travellers injured in car accidents, most involve rollovers, cars running off road

By Staff

  • Typical accident This rental car was destroyed in a rollover when it ran off the road on Holtavörðuheiði heath. The foreign travellers did not suffer critical injuries. Photo/Police in West Iceland

More than 220 foreign travellers were injured in car accidents in Iceland in 2016, figures from the Icelandic Transport Authority show. The number of travellers injured in car accidents. The number is dramatically since 2014, when the number was only 123.

95% of accidents are in rural areas
Most of the accidents involve rollovers or cars running off the road: 73%. Such accidents are far less common among Icelandic drivers. Only 23% of accidents involving Icelanders are rollovers or caused by the driver losing control of vehicle and running off the road. 

A spokesman for the Transport Authority told the local newspaper Fréttablaðið part of the reason is that foreign travellers spent proportionately more time driving on roads outside urban areas than Icelanders, who spend most time driving within urban areas: 95% of all accidents involving foreign drivers took place in rural areas.

"Death penalty for losing control of vehicle"
Rollovers and running off the road are typical accidents on the ring road, but far less common in towns or villages. Unfamiliarity with road conditions and how to drive on Icelandic roads is another reason.

The Icelandic Coastal and Road Authority must do its bit to improve safety, he argues, for example by adding traffic barriers in dangerous bends on the road to ensure cars don't fly off if the driver loses control:

"That's one of the things which we have to do, ensure that the conditions around the roads are improved so that there isn't a death penalty for losing control of the vehicle, as there seems to be in some places."


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