Road “Bleeding” Creates Dangerous Driving Conditions in West and North Iceland Skip to content
tjörublæðing road bleeding roads driving
Photo: Guðrún Úlfarsdóttir.

Road “Bleeding” Creates Dangerous Driving Conditions in West and North Iceland

The Road and Coastal Administration warns that severe road bleeding on the Ring Road between Borgarfjörður in West Iceland and Skagafjörður, North Iceland is creating dangerous driving conditions. According to a notice from the Administration, its staff is working to clear the roads of dangerous film that seeps up to the surface of some roads following extreme fluctuations in temperature. Some drivers have complained that their vehicles have sustained costly damages and the Road and Coastal Administration did not react to the issue quickly enough.

The surface film created on roads via bleeding is dangerous to drivers in several ways. It reduces grip on the roads, and it also coats tires and other parts of cars as they drive over it. The material then often dries and falls off the vehicles once more, causing danger on the road or damaging other vehicles nearby, for example by breaking lights. Heavy vehicles are more likely to trigger road bleeding and to sustain damage in such conditions, and the Road and Coastal Administration urges drivers of large vehicles to ensure their tire pressure is not too high as that can trigger more damage.

Drivers who have experienced damage due to road bleeding on Route One are encouraged to fill out a damage report on the Administration’s website. Those requiring cleaning only can contact the Road and Coastal Administration service station nearest to them, or if in Reykjavík call 354 898 3210.

Cheaper Road Surfaces Prone to Bleeding

Not all types of road surfaces suffer from bleeding. Iceland’s busiest roads (in Reykjavík, near Akureyri, and along parts of the Ring Road in South and West Iceland), are covered by asphalt, which does not have this problem. However, laying asphalt is pricey – it can be 3-5 times more expensive than the surface covering used on Iceland’s less-frequented roads. While the types of surface coverings that lead to bleeding are used in many countries around the world, Iceland’s frequent temperature fluctuations make its roads more vulnerable to bleeding.

One driver who spoke to Vísir stated that he contacted the Road and Coastal Administration about the issue on Sunday afternoon but nothing was done until Monday afternoon. The Administration claims it took action as soon as it was informed about the issue.

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