Driving on single track roads

Many visitors to the Highlands are new to driving on single-track roads. These notes may help to make the experience easier.

Although they are called single-track roads, and are for the most part, there are some lengths of dual-track road, often just wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other. It pays therefore to keep very close to your own side of the road (left), particularly at corners and summits.

On the narrower parts of the road, corners and summits also present a hazard. Always come up to them as though there is an approaching vehicle just out of sight. In this way, you are prepared to stop if there should be an approaching vehicle.

Be prepared to reverse. Watch out behind you if you do reverse. Also to make reversing easier, tilt your wing mirrors down slightly so that you can see the road alongside the rear of your vehicle. That way you are less likely to go off the road. Some of the verges are very soft and you can hold up the traffic for ages until you can get someone to pull you back on the road. Vehicles that have no reverse, such as motorcycles should make certain that the road to the next passing place is completely clear.

If, as you approach a passing place, another driver is already on the road between you and next passing place, please give way. If two drivers reach adjacent passing places at the same time, it is normal for the uphill driver to give way to the downhill driver.

To thank a driver for waiting for you, you should raise your hand (like the hand signal for going straight ahead). The give-way driver should acknowledge by using the same salute.

On steep windy hills, do not impede drivers climbing the hill. On straight steep hills give way to anyone actually on the hill.

Passing places refer not only to drivers coming in the opposite direction, but also refer to drivers who wish to overtake. At the next opportunity for you, and the driver behind you, to see that the road ahead is clear, signal with your left-hand indicator and allow the following vehicle to overtake (in the past drivers have been taken to court for not allowing overtaking). However do not signal with your left-hand indicator if you are pulling into a passing place because of an approaching vehicle. (It is inviting an accident!)

If you are not in a hurry, then it is polite to allow overtaking, and if you are in a hurry--Then the driver who overtakes you probably knows the road better than you do and you, by following closely (about 30m to 50m) can go faster than you could on your own.

Watch out for skid marks; indicating a black spot. Also watch out for cyclists and pedestrians (including joggers) as well as for livestock. Sheep generally have more road sense than cattle, but tend to lose it just before lambing. Also watch out for young lambs who get separated from their mothers. They tend to rush across the road taking no notice of you.