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Driving in the Outer Hebrides


Please remember that driving in the UK is always on the left-hand side of the road.


The UK has a large number of roundabouts. While European visitors may be familiar with them American visitors may not. The simple rules of a roundabout are:

Always give way to all traffic from your right.

Always travel in a clockwise direction even if it means you have to go all the way round to get to your junction.

Single Track Roads

In the Outer Hebrides there is 439 miles of Classified Roads, which are made up of a combination of dual and single track.

On single track roads there are small laybys or "passing places" every 200 meters or so, at appropriate places. These are for use when passing cars approach from the opposite direction, to allow cars to pass each other. These passing places are marked with a white square or white diamond shaped signposts. They may be on either side of the road. In general, the car that is closest to a passing place pulls in, either into or opposite the passing place and waits for the oncoming car to pass.

Check your mirror frequently and if someone is close behind you, let them pass by pulling into one of the passing places.

Don’t use the passing places for parking. They are essential for passing, so don’t obstruct them.

Keep your speed down to safe levels. The speed limit can be up to 60 miles per hour on these roads, but that doesn’t mean it’s always safe to go that fast

Other Tips

  • Beware of animals on the roads. Sheep often wander along the road verges (and roads!). Take extra care as they may, at the last minute, decide to cross the road. Also look out for deer along the road verges as they can jump on to the road suddenly. Look out for otters on causeways as well!
  • There are lots of cyclists and walkers on the road. Take extra care when passing, particularly on single track roads
  • Please do not park on roads, passing places or field accesses but please do use the designated parking spaces instead

Speed Limits

On UK roads the speed limits are always in miles per hour and unless stated are:


  • Built up areas: 30 mph
  • Single carriageway: 60 mph


  • Built up areas: 30 mph
  • Single carriageway: 50 mph

Seat Belts

It is compulsory to wear seat belts, both front and rear. Small children and babies must be restrained in an appropriate child car seat or carrier. Children must normally use a child seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first. Child car seats should be ordered when you book your car. 

Driving Licence and Insurance

EU drivers must possess a driving licence and either a passport or ID card.

Drivers outwith the EU must possess a valid domestic driving licence with English translation. If English translation is not available, an international driving permit is required in addition to a domestic driving licence. A passport must also accompany a domestic driving licence.

Drinking & Driving

It is an offence to drink and drive. If caught and convicted, the criminal penalties are severe.

Using mobile phones

It is an offence to drive a vehicle whilst using a mobile phone. Police can issue spot fines, which may be as high as £1000.