Passing place etiquette

Driving on rural roads in parts of Scotland can throw up new challenges for the suburban driver. There are sheep and cattle to watch out for and tractors and cyclists to navigate around. But the main problem you’ll have to face is single track roads. Don’t get us wrong, after moving here from a city we found it hard to get used to. So here are the rules and some unwritten ones to help you help us.

Passing places work more than one way. Firstly they are for when two cars meet going in opposite directions which in this situation, the car closest to the passing place must either wait in it or wait next to it for the other car to use. DO NOT change sides of the road! Secondly, they can be used to let the faster driver behind you pass. These are usually irritable courier drivers who really shouldn’t flash or beep their horns but ignore the ones who do and let them pass without giving them the finger.

Now for some etiquette. Try to avoid any situation where you have to reverse or make the car coming towards you reverse. Just go cautiously around bends to eliminate any need for reversing into passing places. Not all of us are so confident in reverse especially if we’re new to the roads and panic easily. If you are in a checkmate situation where you’re both at an equidistant from two passing places but there are two cars coming towards you rather than you just on your own, then you should really do the reversing, simply because it is easier for one car than it is for two. Lastly, it is generally easier to wait at the passing place going down hill then to let the car going uphill wait and then make a hill-start. In general, it just takes a bit of common sense and to ask yourself in each situation what would be the best thing to do for both cars concerned.

When it comes to cattle on roads, I would suggest not beeping at them – my neighbour did this once only to have her bumper kicked off by a disgruntled cow.

Leave a Reply