Painting a solid line along road shoulders appears to be preventing foreign travellers from making dangerous stops on roads, RÚV reports. Sóley Jónasdóttir, project manager at the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration, says the administration’s employees report seeing fewer drivers stopping in dangerous spots in areas where the simple change was implemented. Sóley attributes the changed behaviour to international regulations. “In many places abroad [a solid line] means you’re not allowed to stop.”
Most drivers in Iceland have observed foreign travellers stopping cars on narrow shoulders or even on roads in order to snap photos, pet horses, or enjoy the view. When drivers park or stop on roads or along shoulders without adequate space, they put themselves and other travellers at risk. Sóley reviewed this problem and published her findings in the fall of 2017. She says such stops are not only dangerous, they also mean added road maintenance costs for the administration.
Most dangerous stops along south coast
“We registered 102 places where it was prominent that tourists were stopping, suddenly and maybe unexpectedly on the side of the road.” Sóley says many of the locations are in fact longer stretches of road where tourists are stopping in different spots, because of one particular view.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the places marked in the study were in South Iceland, which sees the highest numbers of tourists of any region outside the capital area. Sóley observed that drivers were quick to get moving if Road Administration staff stopped nearby in a marked car. Such was not the case if the car was a private vehicle.
More viewpoints needed
Sóley says more rest areas are needed along the Ring Road to prevent drivers from stopping in unsafe locations. She points out, however, that there are no funds specifically earmarked for constructing viewpoints or rest areas in the Road and Coastal Administration’s budget.