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SAFE DRIVING2019-02-04T15:23:11+00:00

Safe driving in Scotland

It goes without saying that driving safely is important where ever you are and touring Scotland in a campervan or motorhome is no different. You can experience every road type from dual lane motorway to single track and everything in between.

As well as the road type, there are many other things you need to consider….

  • Adverse weather conditions

  • Is it your first time driving a campervans or motorhome?

  • Campervan and motorhome driving etiquette

  • Are you travelling from overseas?

And much more….

It is extremely important to take the time to familiarise yourself with all the required information that you will find on this page before your travels and remember, you will be able to refer back to it at any time whilst you are on your travels.

Be Safe, be courteous, always be aware of your surroundings, follow the information below and you will without doubt enjoy the experience of touring Scotland.

Being able to take your time, having the freedom of the road to soak up the amazing views, capturing all the sights in photos and not have to really have exact plans are all huge benefits to travelling in a campervan or a motorhome. Whilst you have all the time in the world being relaxed and on holiday you must bear in mind that there are local residents trying to go about their day to day business, slow and increased road traffic can cause frustration and delays on the busier routes and popular tourist areas.

Please make sure to follow these simple guidelines…

  • If you are travelling at below the speed limit or taking your time, please safely pull in and always allow traffic to overtake you.

  • If you are travelling slowly on a straight stretch of road with traffic behind you and it is clear a head, you can signal left and slow down to let the traffic safely pass you. Please look ahead for any road dips or bends and only do this if you are sure it is safe for them to pass in plenty of time.

  • If you are on a single track road and you wish to let traffic behind you pass, pull into a passing place and let them pass if it is safe to do so.

  • If you are with a group, do not travel in a convoy. Especially not on smaller roads as this can lead to congestion at passing places and could cause and obstruction. Travel at least 1 passing place distance apart.

  • Some roads in Scotland in the more remote areas are not fenced and you will come across livestock of sheep, goats and highland cattle roaming free. Make sure to reduce your speed to pass them safely and be aware that they are known to change their direction quickly and can run back out in front of you as you pass. As well as free roaming livestock you will possibly encounter wild deer, other wildlife and larger birds crossing the road…… generally they are unaware of the highway code and will just dart out so please keep a good distance.

  • Even if you are used to driving on small or narrow roads there are different road configurations you may come across in the more remote areas. For example, dips, blind summits, steep incline and declines and very sharp blind bends. Always reduce your speed and be aware of your vehicle size in these situations.

  • It is not only motorised vehicles that use the roads, you will see cyclists, walkers and even horse riders. Always make sure to give plenty of room when passing.

  • We often see tourists from overseas who have travelled in their own campervan or motorhome. Sometime if they are travelling on the opposite side to what they are used to you may find that they drive quite close to the white line. Try to be observant on foreign number plates, give them space and slow down when passing.

  • Although campervans and motorhomes are usually mocked for driving slow, most vans are capable of doing more than the speed limits of our roads. It goes without saying that you must be aware and stick to the speed limits of the roads you are travelling and be aware that your vehicle weight can change your breaking distance.

Always respectfully remember that some of the more remote roads are used for daily travel, business commuting and local residents who may be on their way to a hospital appointments or even a health professional on their way to visit a patient.

You are probably familiar with the term “Four seasons in one day” or “If you don’t like the weather then wait 10 minutes” this is the best description to describe the ever-changing Scottish weather!

You can experience a change in weather extremely quickly and it can create very hazardous driving conditions.

Torrential and sometimes horizontal rain can mean limited visibility and can cause flash flooding. Always reduce your speed in heavy rain conditions and do not attempt to drive through flooded roads if it can be avoided as you will not know just how deep the water is and run the risk of getting stuck.

Heavy rainfall can make ground conditions extremely unstable, always be careful of verges if you are pulling over as you run the risk of getting stuck and may need assistance to be towed out.

It is extremely possible to experience snow and ice over winter, especially on higher ground. Make sure to pack winter essentials such as a shovel, de-icer, a small box of salt, warm clothing/blankets, food and water in case you were to get stuck. This is of course one of the beauties of having a campervan or motorhome as you will probably be travelling with all this on board anyway!

When travelling in winter it is also advisable to carry an extra gas bottle in case you are stuck for a period of time and require it for heating.

It really is the same common sense advice for adverse weather as it would be if you were driving a car except always remember you are driving something a lot heavier and this can change your breaking capacity and distances.

If you are considering a campervan or motorhome holiday and have never driven anything bigger than a car before there are a few things to consider or to try.

If you have a family member, friend or colleague that has a larger vehicle/van, it may be worth spending a few pounds to get insured for a day to test drive the vehicle to see if you are comfortable with the size and manoeuvrability of it. It is most important to make sure that you feel comfortable reversing the vehicle as you need to be able to use the vehicle correctly and safely and you may encounter this situation on a single track road.

Alternatively, you can hire a commercial van locally to your home for not a huge cost per hour so you can test drive and get a feel for the size verses a car. Sometimes vehicles can look really large when you are stood next to them and driving a larger vehicle is very different but it doesn’t always mean that it is more difficult.

As well as general reversing it is also important to be aware of the vehicles length and that campervans and motorhome conversions do not always have the best rear visibility. If you are travelling with company, we would always advise that your travelling companion gets out the vehicle to guide you with any manoeuvring procedure. Reversing cameras do not always consider bike rack lengths and dimensions.

Below is a useful safe driving leaflet created by one of our members that gives you great advice about driving in the highlands and underneath you will find more helpful information to on driving in Scotland.

Below are some useful videos from You Tube that cover driving in Scotland. The different road types, what you may come across and also one to show you the actual drive of the Beallach Na Ba.