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Driving in Scotland

Hello:  Silly question but Daughter and I are travelling to Scotland end of  March/2018..  She is a excellent driver but were also considering a day tour from Edinburgh ( will check your info regarding Tours~ Thanks! )..  she has a bucket list to drive in Scotland however she is also concerned about driving on the left.  I would think you can not have a test drive before you commit to a rental ??  Were starting to get a few more round abouts here so that isn't such a big issue.  Thanks!


  • MoFMoF Member ✭✭
    Driving on that side was a 'Must Do' thing for me as well.

    First things first, can she drive a stick (manual)?  I have to admit that adds another dimension of getting used to driving.  

    Secondarily, If you pick up from the airport at Edinburgh, there is a loop you can drive, when you pick up most of the car rentals to practice if you need to.  I would reach out to the local office if you do have a reservation, to see if you can cancel it after one day if you aren't comfortable with driving.

    There are some details I wish I would have learned before day 4 of driving over there.  One is the roads are a lot tighter (At least in Argyll), so you can't 'center' yourself in the car like you do over here, in some spots you will have to ride the middle line, and sometimes having a truck in front of you is great as it ensures opposing traffic isn't riding the line in front of you.

    Also this is useful reading as well as getting familiar with the signs.

    One last detail, is you could also google street view the routes she wants to take to get familiar with them, for me it was helpful, as then I could focus on driving and not where I am going.
  • MoFMoF Member ✭✭
    One more thing, having a passenger makes getting your bearings a lot easier.
  • lizzyannlizzyann Member ✭✭
    Thanks MoF:  Your information is most helpful, how nice of you to respond !!  :)
  • AYankInScotlandAYankInScotland Member ✭✭
    edited February 25
    Hi Lizzyann - if you are a yank like me, consider renting an automatic if you can get one. Then you don't have to worry about shifting. My wife and I drove 1200+ miles in the fall of 2016. All the way from Edinburgh up to the Orkneys, then the Isle of Skye, Glencoe, and ended in Glasgow.

    As Mof said above, read and print out the stuff on the highway codes - very useful. And Mof is also right about having a passenger to help you out. They can yell "STAY LEFT!" when you forget  :D

    Also - consider bringing one of those smart phone holders that connects to the windshield. If it's centered close to your line of sight, you don't have to take your eyes off the road. You can download all of Scotland via Google maps offline, and don't need a cell connection to figure out where you are, and where you need to go. 

    Some roads can be quite narrow, and a bit nerve wracking (driving down the length of Loch Lommand is a death sport), but otherwise you'll do fine. Oh, and be on the lookout for speed cameras. They take that quite seriously.

    Have fun, and enjoy your lovely drive!

  • MoFMoF Member ✭✭
    @AYankInScotland Re: Loch Lomond, I was doing a run from Mallaig to Paisley to catch a flight out, Via Glencoe and the full length of Loch Lomond, right around freezing and snow was moving in from the northwest to southeast.

    I agree wholeheartedly on the death sport thing.

    By the time we were halfway through Glencoe it was snowing brisky, (gorgeous, but didn't get any photographs as I wanted to get through before It got below freezing) , and by the time I got to the Loch itself, I was behind this lorry.  That seemed to reduce the death sport of running it in conditions although thank god it'd shifted over to rain,  I do have to admit in rough conditions on a road you don't know as its getting dark, staying behind a truck is a lifesaver.  (Just make sure you maintain adequate stopping distance)

    However beautiful it is, is best to keep your eyes on the road, and let your passenger look around once you get situated right and take pictures.

  • MoF said: However beautiful it is, is best to keep your eyes on the road, and let your passenger look around once you get situated right and take pictures.

    Couldn't agree more MoF! That's why going by car through Scotland is the best - lot of opportunities to pull over and stop!

    Oh, one more note for LizzyAnn - you will learn to LOVE <3 roundabouts! I think we sat at a total of maybe 12 traffic lights during our drives. God, I wish we had them here in the US!



  • lizzyannlizzyann Member ✭✭
    Thanks for all the amazing come back and we decided to do a full day tour out of Edinburgh and just drink in all the beauty !!  Were coming from Ontario, Canada..  First time over for me !! Cheers,  Liz   :)
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