Top Things You Should Know about Driving in Scotland

Jan 2, 2014 by

Scotland is a wonderful country to visit, as it has got a bit of everything: history and culture, nightlife, dining and entertainment, and more. If you are traveling to Scotland, particularly Edinburgh or Glasgow, one great way to explore the area is by driving.

Whilst you can easily depend on public transport, there is something to be said about being able to simply go wherever you want, especially since the country is known for its rural areas which are better reached by car. With your own vehicle, you essentially have the freedom that is lacking if you have to depend on public transport. See a quaint little pub that looks like it might have some interesting grub? Then stop by and give it a try. Would you like to spend the night at a nice little bed and breakfast and see the run rise over the moors? With a car, you can do these and be a bit more spontaneous.

You can easily hire a car from a local car rental company, and this is less stressful than actually bringing your own car, especially if you are coming from outside the UK. Click here to get more information on affordable, locally-based car rental services in the country.

But as with every other location, there are things you have to remember when driving in Scotland. Some factors are already quite obvious, such as having a valid driver’s licence, having insurance, and being aware of speed limits. But there are other, less obvious aspects to driving in Scotland that would benefit you to know.

Driving on rural, one-track roads

There are many rural roads in the Highlands which have only one track, where you will often encounter a herd of sheep. There is a special code which you should follow when passing along a single track road. Single-track roads are only wide enough for one vehicle, so they usually have what are called ‘passing places’. When you see a vehicle on its way towards you, you can pull over into or wait in a passing place on your left or right. When vehicles are coming up a hill, give way to them if you can. It may sometimes be necessary for you to reverse in order to let the other vehicle through. When you are passing any horse riders, pedestrians, or cyclists, you have to decrease your speed.

If you aim to see the picturesque roads of Scotland, you can use the official National Tourist Routes, which are 12 routes dotted across the country’s landscape and which showcase its historic villages, towns, and coastal areas.

Getting fuel

When you need petrol, petrol stations can mostly give you unleaded petrol and diesel. But there are also stations where you can load up on bio-diesel and LPG. When buying fuel, be prepared to purchase it by litre. More and more city petrol stations are open 24 hours a day. However, when going to a rural area, it is best to make sure your tank is full as petrol stations may not be open at night.

Of course, we all know that drinking and driving is an absolute no-no, as is using a mobile phone whilst driving. Even if you are using a hands-free phone, you may still be prosecuted if you are shown not to have adequate control over the device.

At the end of the day, as long as you know what to expect, driving in Scotland is a breeze. It is a wonderful way to see the sights of the country in your own time and at your own pace.

Image attributed to: James Barker

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