Driving safely on Scotland's roads

All you need to know if you're visiting Scotland and driving on our roads.

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  • Plan properly

  • Allow enough time

  • Know the roads

  • Book ahead

Stay safe and enjoy all that Scotland has to offer

There are stunning views all over Scotland. However, when you’re driving, it’s important not to be distracted.

Thinking ahead and focusing on the journey can help you stay safe – especially when you’re on new and unfamiliar roads.

What you need to know

  • Planning your journey in advance is always important
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going
  • Better knowledge of our roads can reduce safety risks
  • Think about accommodation and leisure activities
  • Drive safely and be responsible on our road

Understanding our roads

Scotland’s roads, and even some laws, are different from the rest of the UK.

Here’s an idea of what you can expect to find on our roads:

  • Varying speed limits and average speed cameras
  • Some main arterial roads that are narrow and winding
  • This can make journey times longer and overtaking difficult and dangerous
  • Plenty of caravans, campervans and other large vehicles, even on narrow roads
  • Passing places on single-track roads
  • A lot of motorbikes and cyclists, especially in summer
  • Local farm traffic, including animals like deer and highland cows.

Driving on the left

Get to know the rules and tips around driving on our unique roads.

Woman driving a car

Planning your journey can make all the difference

Driving in Scotland can be a memorable experience but it’s important that you plan properly. Think of the journey as part of the holiday and take your time to see Scotland in the safest way possible.

Here are some key tips:

  • Driving in Scotland can be very different to what you’re used to
  • Take time to prepare your journey and understand the type of roads you’ll be on
  • Plan in time for rest stops as driving when you’re tired can kill
  • Be prepared for things to take longer than you thought
  • Be aware that the weather can change very quickly
  • Pass and overtake safely, especially in remote areas, or on single-track roads

What to expect when driving in Scotland

From country roads to the drink driving limits there is a lot to think about.

Think ahead about accommodation…

With so many people enjoying holidays in Scotland, accommodation is in high demand. So it’s always important to book in advance.
Proper planning will also help you avoid driving tired while trying to find somewhere to stay.

Planning on camping?

  • Check when campsites open and pre-book
  • Find out if your chosen site is in a zone where you need a permit
  • Wild camping spots get busy, so some areas might not be available
  • Always check out and stick to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code
    Find out more on camping here 

…and any leisure activities

A lot of leisure facilities and tourist attractions are getting back to normal after the pandemic. That said, it’s always worth checking directly with venues to see if you need to book in advance.

Think about parking

  • Parking in popular areas, like national parks, can often be in high demand
  • In some tourist areas, parking at the side of the road is not allowed
  • Always try to park responsibly and have an alternative plan before you set out
  • Remember not to block access for farm machinery and emergency vehicles

Helping you plan your journey

To try and help you plan ahead, you’ll find everything you need here, for a trip to Scotland.

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