Holidays can create unforgettable memories. And planning your trip can help ensure they’re good memories. Planning your driving is also important to keep you and others safe on new and unfamiliar roads. So, if you’re travelling in Scotland soon, take a few minutes to prepare your journey – understand the types of roads you will be driving on and who you might have to share them with, account for rest stops, and be prepared for things to take a bit longer. Scotland’s roads are beautiful and will take you to some special places, but they are best enjoyed safely.

Listen to Staycationers

“We’re all trying to get down the road at the same time, let’s all just give each other a little bit of space.”

Given the beauty and wonder of Scotland’s landscapes, it’s no wonder that this summer more people than ever are enjoying a Scottish staycation. We spoke to drivers visiting one of Scotland’s most popular rest stops as they shared their top tips for keeping safe when travelling on Scotland’s roads. #PlanSmartDriveSmart

Take it from our locals, they know our roads

Your journey

Plan ahead. Driving in Scotland can be very different. Getting to and around Scotland may involve longer journey times than you are used to. Ensure you allow enough time for your journey, factoring in the different road networks, varying speed limits and types of roads, and unexpected delays caused by road works or slow-moving vehicles, all of which may mean longer driving times than you might expect.

Factor enough breaks into your journey. Driving tired can kill so allow for regular breaks to avoid fatigue. Read our tips to avoid this and make sure you arrive at your destination safely.

Relax and make the journey part of the holiday, rather than just a means to an end. Some roads are likely to be busier. Slower vehicles such as camper vans and caravans will be plentiful. The weather can play a part and sometimes make it difficult to see motorbikes, cyclists and walkers so take your time, pass and overtake safely, and be especially careful in remote areas or on single-track roads.

#PlanSmartDriveSmart, and help everyone stay safe on Scotland’s roads this summer.

Road passing through The Quiraing on Isle of Skye

Tips on driving in Scotland

Get to know what to expect on Scotland’s roads by watching this short video by Visit Scotland. With helpful tips on country driving, how to drive on single track roads and passing places, our drink drive limit, and much more it’s worth starting to think about the different types of driving skills and road environments you might need to adapt to.

Accommodation

Book ahead. With many more people enjoying holidays in Scotland, accommodation demands are higher than usual.

To abide by Covid-19 rules, many hospitality providers can only accept advance bookings and walk-ins aren’t possible.

Planning on camping? Check campsites are open, find out if your chosen site is in a camping management zone where permits are required and, of course, pre-book. Wild camping spots are extremely busy so your planned spots may not be available. To stay out of trouble, check out and abide by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Avoid driving tired especially after lengthy journeys: good planning will prevent you driving around trying to find somewhere to stay.

Leisure activities

Many leisure facilities and tourist attractions are operating with reduced capacities. It’s worth checking with venues directly about any pre-booking requirements before your trip, and make bookings in advance to avoid disappointment.

Some popular areas, such as our national parks, are experiencing a higher than usual influx of visitors which means parking is in high demand. Clearways are also in place in many popular areas and parking at the side of the road in many tourist areas is prohibited. Park responsibly and have a plan B before you set out. Don’t block access for farm machinery and emergency vehicles. You don’t want to return to find a parking ticket, or that your vehicle has been towed or damaged.

Reduce your road risks

Scotland’s roads and some laws are different from the rest of the UK. And that’ll be part of the experience of being here. Expect roads with varying speed limits and average speed cameras. Some of our main arterial roads are narrow and winding country roads, where journey times will be longer than you may be used to, and overtaking can be difficult and dangerous.

Be mindful and that you have to share all our roads with many other road users. This summer you are sure to meet many caravans and campervans and other large vehicles, even on single-track roads. In rural Scotland you will find many single track roads with passing places, and it’s important that you don’t park in these or anywhere you could block traffic. Scotland’s roads also attract lots of motorbikes and cyclists over the summer months, riding alone and in groups. And don’t forget our locals – expect farm-traffic, deer, highland cows, and haggis (just joking).

Learn about our speed limits, drink-driving, country-roads and more.

Scotland’s drink and driving laws are different too

You may be on holiday, but the law is the law. And Scotland’s drink-drive limit is lower than the rest of the UK. The simplest and safest way is not to drink any alcohol before driving. You can still be over the limit the morning after so remember that if you are driving the following day. Roadside drug testing is also used to keep our roads safer.

close up of police car siren

Planning your trip

Find everything you need to plan your trip to Scotland, including current Covid-19 restrictions and information on transport options.

Useful links

Holidays should be easy, so we’ve pulled together some quick links to make your break stress-free.

  • Traffic info

    Get the latest up to date traffic info from Traffic Scotland.

  • Fuel stations

    Find a petrol station near you.

  • Electric vehicle charging

  • LPG stations

    Find an LPG station near you.

  • Lockdown loos

    Find a toilet open during lockdown.

  • Park and Ride

    Find a park and ride location.

  • RAC route planner

    Work out your routes and stops using the RAC route planner.

  • AA route planner

    Work out your routes and stops using the AA route planner.

  • Driving on the left

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

Scotland, yours to enjoy. Responsibly

Scotland is a wonderful place. Please help us keep to protect our landscapes by holidaying in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. Find out more about enjoying our country responsibly.

#RespectProtectEnjoy

Suilven and surrounding landscape, Assynt, Scotland

Help us to promote staycations

Our new ‘Listen to the Locals’ campaign to help promote the need to #PlanSmartDriveSmart to stay safe on Scotland’s Roads this summer is now live and available in our campaign assets hub.