- Get good information about the area you are travelling to
- Accidents are common when people get to close to the sea, cliff edges and hot springs.
- Sudden changes in weather are common especially in the highland
- When travelling the highland remember to check where you will find service. Often you have to drive a long way to get oil or food.
One of the cheapest jokes that we Icelanders bombard foreign tourists with goes something like this: “In Iceland there’s never any real weather, just samples of it.” Not particularly funny, though rather true. The weather here changes unbelievably quickly and in the mountains it can cause problems for travellers if they’re not adequately prepared.
Most fatal accidents in Iceland involving hikers stem from them having overestimated their own abilities or underestimated Icelandic weather. Even during the summer, weather can rapidly change where the archenemies of hikers, wind and rain, creep up and unleash their fury.
Taking that into consideration, you should pay particular attention to the follwing;
Weather report before heading out for a hike.
Be well prepared, and by that we mean bring along proper underwear and water and wind resistant clothing, not to mention gloves and caps.
Find out about road conditions.
Remember that if you get lost you should always remain calm and stay where you are. This can mean the difference between life and death.
However to ensure a better tour for you and those who are travelling with you always keep the following in mind
- Roads in the highland are only suitable for 4×4 jeeps
- Check out the area you are travelling in and get good information about roads, weather, service and other things needed
- Rivers in the highland can be dangerous and change rapidly
- Weather in the highland can be very different from the lowland and can change must faster. Check the weather forecast before travelling
- In the summer time wardens are situated in many places in the highland. Use them to get information
Rocks & canyons
- The edges of high cliffs can be dangerous; the soil is loose and can fall when you step on it
- It is good rule to be 2 – 3 meters away from cliff edges
- Even though it is fun let’s not climb in rocks unless with proper equipment
- If we are hiking in a canyon or in similar circumstances lets be aware that rocks can fall from above us
- Watch children well, they are fast and dangerous spots can be exciting from them
- If waves are big stay in the upper half of the coast
- Watch the children, the can move quickly
- South Iceland coast can be dangerous since it is open to the Atlantic Ocean
- Waves are in different sizes, every now and then a bigger one arrives
- If an accident occurs dial 112 right away
- If an accident occurs make sure to prevent further accident, rescue attempt can be impossible
Rivers and waterfalls
- Don’t go to close to waterfalls, edges can be slippery
- Keep children in safe distance from the river
- If someone falls into a river or a waterfall dial 112
- Attempt rescue without creating more danger
- If someone falls into a river the best way is to lay on the back, feet pointing down and then try to move your hands and “swim” towards the bank
If you need to cross a river on foot you should keep few things in mind (see above)
Geyser areas are perhaps not so similar to the potential dangers listed above, but can still pose threats to safety. The water can be up to 100°C, so everyone must stick to the specified paths and follow the posted instructions.
Often around geysers there are sections of thin clay. They can break when stepped on and beneath them is seething water. Let’s avoid accidents and just stay on the paths.
If you’re outdoors, it’s best to get to an open area. Don’t use your phone except in the utmost need. Instead, follow the news on the radio, television or via teletext services.
The first thing you should do is pay attention to weather reports and other news. If you find yourself at an eruption site, you should get away from the lava flow, place a mask or scarf over your nose and mouth, and travel lengthwise to get out of the ash cloud. Avoid being in the vicinity of power lines, poles, electrical power stations and other similar structures that might attract lightening, as they’re especially dangerous to be around during a volcanic eruption.
Glacial floods can burst out from beneath glaciers, so it’s advisable to stick to flatland and the same is true regarding toxic gas emissions. The safest thing is, however, to enjoy an eruption at a good distance and respectfully stay out of any restricted zones which have been established.