In spite of the short length, this river has a bad reputation. It is especially feared because of the frequent glacier runs that can be fatal.
In front of Skaftafell National Park, Skeiðará has formed the Skeiðarár Sandur, a black plain of lava sand and ashes crossed by a lot of small rivulets which covers the whole area between the park and the sea (about 40 km long and 5 to 10 km wide). In 1996, the latest of these glacier runs took place. It destroyed parts of Route 1 (The Ring Road). The 880 m long bridge was destroyed by floating ice boulders the size of a house. At the peak of this glacier run, 45,000 m³/s of water were coming down. Luckily, no persons were harmed, scientists having very carefully monitored the volcano Grímsvötn on Vatnajökull which caused the glacier run by its eruption.