Driving Safely on Islay's (Single Track) Country Roads

Islay Single Track Road near Loch GruinartMany roads on Islay as well as roads in other parts of Scotland are single track roads. It is very well possible that you use these single track roads for the first time when you arrive on Islay and most people from abroad have to get used to these somewhat 'strange roads'. That's the reason the Strathclyde Police gives advice on how to behave on these lonely and narrow roads and some of the paragraphs from the Highway Code below give some good advice which will help everyone to keep safe on Islay's country roads.

The Highway Code, section 132:

Take extra care on country roads and reduce your speed at aproaches to bends, which can be sharper than they appear, and at minor junctions and turnings, which may be partially hidden. Be prepared for pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists walking or riding in the road. You should also reduce your speed where country roads enter villages.

Driving on country roads needs to be taken steadily, and drivers must be ready to stop at any time to avoid unexpected hazards. Roads can become narrow at old bridges and places where there are stone walls on both sides of the road. Give slower, non-motorised road users such as walkers, cyclists, horse riders and farm livestock or wild animals enough time and space to move either into a passing place or off the road. Pass wide and slowly.

The Highway Code, section 133:

Single-track roads. These roads are only wide enough for one vehicle. They have special passing places. If you see a vehicle coming towards you, or the driver behind wants to overtake, pull into a passing place on your left, or wait opposite a passing place on your right. Give way to vehicles coming uphill whenever you can. If necessary, reverse until you reach a passing place to let the other vehicle pass.

In Islay, many passing places are marked by black and white poles at the roadsides, but some passing places are not marked. Drivers using single-track roads must be able to reverse to a passing place in order to let other vehicles pass. Sometimes drivers must reverse more than a metre or two. Driving onto verges to avoid reversing is not recommended, as cars may be damaged or get stuck in roadside ditches. In Islay, it's usual to give a friendly wave as 'thank you' if another road user has reversed or waited for you to pass. It makes all the difference!

The Highway Code, section 134:

Do not park in passing places. Parking your car in passing places to watch birds, photograph the scenery, or to leave your vehicle while you go for a walk, prevents other road users from using passing places. If your car blocks a passing place and stops other drivers, cyclists or horse-riders from allowing vehicles to move by, dangerous situations can occur. If you must stop in a passing place for a short time, be prepared to drive on immediately.

Parking in or near entrances to farm tracks, in field gateways or at cattle grid gates can prevent access by farmers and others who live and work in the countryside. 24-hour access to gates is often required, either by people whose homes are up farm tracks or by farmers who may need to move livestock or large farm machinery. It may not be easy to see that these access points are in regular use, but that is usually the case.

Single Track Road at Kilchiaran Bay
Single Track Road at Kilchiaran Bay on the west coast

Citylink Coach | Islay Ferry Bookings | Islay Ferry information | Isle of Jura Ferry | Travel by Plane | Own Boat | Islay Bus Service | Islay Taxi Hire | Islay Car Hire | Single Track Roads | Islay Street View | Islay Google Map


Social & Quick Links

About Islay - Places - Nature - History - Whisky - Accommodation - Activities - Travel - Events - Map Navigation


Norman Newton - Islay guide
A small book loaded with gorgeous photo's and practical Information. Lightweight and soft sided makes an ideal companion on Islay.
More Islay books here...