I'm spending 3 days on the Isle of Skye in August. Traveling solo. I am discovering that there are not many options for transportation while on the island. I'm a bit nervous about driving. How difficult is it driving there? I'm staying at Kinloch Lodge Hotel.
Driving on the left side of the road is not as scary as it seems, particularly on not-busy roads such as Skye. The scary part, to me, is driving in cities. Look at renting a car to give yourself maximum flexibility not only in where you go but also in making stops along the way because there are lots of amazing views to see and absorb. You may be surprised at how quickly you are able to adapt to driving "on the other side" - just takes some concentration, particularly for left turns.
Thanks!! I have tentatively reserved a car with GPS. If you read a news story about some crazy American woman wreaking havoc with a car on the Isle of Sky this August, you'll know who it is!
You’ll be in good company. Driving there on our trip, occasionally pulling into a Passing Place, which is a wide spot in the road marked by a sign, we were able to let oncoming vehicles by, and/or they let us pass. The car closest to a Passing Place on a super-narrow road should pull into it, and that can sometimes mean backing up to reach it. Not all roads need Passing Places, but they’re good to have.
In addition to sheep that may occasionally want to share the road, you’ll have other tourists - maybe some crazy ones! We saw a bunch of cars and camper vans, mostly with Belgian or Italian license plates, some pretty wide, and many driving over the center line of the road. Some of them were taking their half of the road out of the middle! And they were driving from the left side of their vehicle, basically along the shoulder. No wonder they steered a bit too far to the right. So any crazy American might not be the worst thing the locals see on their roads 😊
P.S. Skye will be a breeze compared to I-25, I-70, Speer Blvd, Broadway or 6th Ave at rush hour, or pretty much anywhere else in the Denver Metro area!
Nice!! Thanks for the input. And you aren't wrong. Driving on Colfax at night is like playing "Frogger" IRL!
It isn't as simple as you might imagine to drive on the single track roads of Skye! I encounter plenty of tourists who think they are being helpful by pulling in to a passing place - but actually they've pulled on to the wrong side of the road. A key point to note is that if the passing place is on your right, you do not pull into it, but you stop parallel to it, and the oncoming vehicle swings into the passing place, you then continue on your way and they exit the passing place. If you pull in on the wrong side and something else comes up behind you, they likely won't fit in to the passing place behind you and the oncoming traffic has nowhere to go.
You also need to be confident at reversing, and willing to do so at more than 2 miles an hour, or you will cause delays and frustration to locals trying to go about their normal everyday business. If you have just gone past a passing place, but are nearer to one than the person coming in the other direction then you must reverse.
Also the verges of our single track roads are soft and you should never pull off the road surface. I saw one couple sitting on their up turned rental car, which had rolled down a bank because they had tried to squeeze past another car without using a passing place. A tow truck arrived several hours later. They refused my offer of a cup of tea at my house while they waited for the truck - but I think they regretted that once it started to rain and the wind picked up.
One final piece of single track advice, as advised by the Highway Code, please pull over to let faster traffic pass you. You do this by pulling in to the first available passing place on your side of the road. You will gain friendly waves and the gratitude of all locals!
So here is a very useful article - complete with brief video at the end, to show you how to drive here. How to Survive Scotland's Single Track Roads
I am sure that you will do fine. I've driven in the UK for 20 years and I love it. They have wonderful wee roads. First, the pedals are the same for right hand and left hand drive. If you are an accomplished standard driver (you can do manual in your sleep) I would not worry about automatic vs standard. If you are not experienced with shifting gears, then should request automatic. I found that shifting with my left hand was not a huge issue and in fact kept me thinking about where I was. Unless there have been vast changes in the last 3-5 years the traffic in Scotland outside of the Central Belt is very manageable compared to a lot of the US. We just have way more people and cars. Watch some of the videos about driving in the UK and plan your travel. The times when things go wrong will be when you are stressed. Remember you are on vacation and no one will die if you are late. If you miss a site because you are late, you will find a better site around the corner.
My standard advise is to look at where you want to go each day. Plot the towns and cities that you willl pass as long as the route numbers that you will be on. In the UK signs are more about your destination--the next village or town--than the route number. Know the towns between your starting point and your destinations. I would jot them down on posted noted so I had them handy as I was usually driving solo.
I think where a lot of non-left side familiars have trouble is at intersections and driveways. You have to remember which way to look for oncoming traffic (and pedestrians), which lane to turn into, and even which side of the driveway to exit on.
One thing you can do is use Google Street View to see what the roads look like, and to see especially what the junctions look like. It can give a little familiarity to what you will expect.
Thank you all for your help! I'll be doing some homework before I leave.