Winter Driving in Northern Norway

Winter driving conditions in Northern Norway can be challenging due to harsh weather conditions and icy roads. Drivers need to be prepared for the low visibility caused by snowstorms and blizzards, as well as the risk of black ice on the roads.

It is important to drive slowly, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and to use good Winter tires or spiked tires for better traction.

Additionally, drivers should be aware of the shorter daylight hours during winter, as well as the potential for wildlife such as moose and reindeer to cross the road.

It is always recommended to check the weather forecast and road conditions before embarking on a journey in Northern Norway during winter. By being well-prepared and driving safely, you can have a safe and enjoyable winter driving experience in this beautiful part of the world. Here we will give you a short overview about the facts of driving in Winter above the Polar Circle:
Winter road conditions in Norway

Photo by Sven Erik Knoff - Visit Norway


Spiked tires, also called studded tires, provide better traction on snowy and icy roads thanks to metal studs or spikes. These create more friction between the tire and the road, improving acceleration, braking, and steering control. Spiked tires are particularly useful in areas where the roads are consistently covered in ice or hard-packed snow, where other types of tires struggle to maintain grip. However, it's important to note that spiked tires can be noisy and may damage road surfaces, leading to restrictions or bans in some regions.

For instance, in Oslo, a tax is imposed on spiked tire usage. However, in Tromsø and Northern Norway, many locals drive with spiked tires and there's no special road fee to pay for using them.


To stay safe while driving, maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you. This reduces the chance of getting a stone chip and allows for a longer braking path in case of sudden stops. Keeping a great distance from other vehicles also provides more time to react to potential hazards or wildlife on the road.

In winter, the roads can be unpredictable and slippery, so maintaining a safe following distance is crucial. Giving yourself more space also improves your view of the road, allowing you to anticipate upcoming hazards or changes in road conditions. Therefore, it is always recommended to keep a safe distance from the car in front of you when driving in winter in Northern Norway.


Before starting your drive, check the road conditions on the Statens Vegvesen website. Heavy snowfall and extreme winds can lead to road closures, requiring you to wait until you can pass the mountain road in a convoy drive.

Additionally, the website will provide information on sight conditions, such as fog or low visibility due to snowstorms. It's important to take these conditions into account before embarking on a journey, as they can affect driving safety. By staying informed about the road conditions, you can plan your journey accordingly and ensure a safer and more enjoyable driving experience.


If you're planning a longer drive up to the North Cape or down to Lofoten, it's important to prepare yourself properly. Make sure to pack warm clothing to keep you comfortable in case of extreme weather conditions. Additionally, check that your car has enough fuel or that the batteries are charged before setting off. It's also a good idea to bring some food and water with you in case you have to stop for an extended period due to bad weather.

In case of an emergency or if you get stranded, ensure that you have a phone charger with you. This way, you can stay connected and call for help if needed. It's always better to be safe than sorry, so take the necessary precautions and plan ahead for a safe and enjoyable driving experience in Northern Norway.


When the roads are icy, drive slowly and reduce speed well before you plan to stop. Exercise caution when driving through big turns and roundabouts as you can easily lose control due slippery roads.


If you keep this 5 points in mind and you start your trip pepared you are ready to go for your road trip up North.

To help our car rental guests feel more comfortable with winter driving, we sometimes recommend doing some test driving on our rental car park. This allows you to get a feel for how the car handles in snowy and icy conditions. Our friendly staff will also provide you with winter driving advice to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Additionally, we will check the weather forecast together with you for the days of your rental period. This way, we can advise you on the best driving routes and provide you with any necessary information to help you stay safe on the road. We want you to have a smooth and worry-free driving experience, so don't hesitate to ask for our help and advice.

Closed road in Northern Norway due a Winter storm

Closed road due a Winter storm in Finnmak - Photo by Sven Erik Knoff - Visit Norway