From Iceland — "Impassable" Reportedly Confusing To Some Tourists

“Impassable” Reportedly Confusing To Some Tourists

Published January 13, 2017

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Trey Ratcliff/Flickr

The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration (IRCA) intends to swap out road closure signs that use the word “impassable”, as this word has proven confusing for some tourists who do not have English as a mother tongue.

Austurfrétt reports that a rescue worker in Breiðdalsvík recently stopped a group of tourists who had driven around a road closure sign, pointing out to them that they were traveling into an area closed to traffic due to difficult conditions.

“The answer that I got was that the sign was in Icelandic, which is actually not true but they didn’t understand it,” rescue worker Helga Hrönn Melsteð told reporters. “People have different degrees of English comprehension.”

In fact, she and her husband have been called out about 50 times to help tourists who have found themselves trapped in bad road conditions in the Breiðdalsheiði area. As such, she believes “impassable” should be replaced with the simpler “closed” instead.

IRCA spokesperson G. Pétur Matthíasson told reporters that in fact these “impassable” signs will indeed be replaced with “closed” signs. This will hopefully reduce any confusion tourists might have as to whether or not a road is closed.

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