The team at Lowland Motorhome Hire want to give you some basic facts you need to be aware of and What to Expect Driving in Scotland
‘Must know’ basics
OK, so in the UK we drive on the left.
Always turn left onto a roundabout.
Always give way to traffic approaching from the right.
Overtake on the right unless there is a solid white line – this means no overtaking
Seatbelts must always be worn whilst the motorhome is being driven – by everyone! People cannot sleep in the beds whilst the vehicle is in motion – they must be strapped in at the appropriate seat belt points
Some roads in rural Scotland are single track, meaning they are small and tight and only one vehicle will have room to drive through. One vehicle will have to pull over to let the other pass. Make use of passing places. You do not want to have to reverse a significant distance. Give way, you are on your holidays – do not rush. Always leave yourself time to travel as roads are often small and congested in rural areas.
Please note, people in other motorhomes will wave at you…it is motorhome etiquette.
Using a Mobile Phone Behind the Wheel
It is illegal to use any handheld device whilst driving especially a mobile phone
Mobile phone driving laws were first introduced in December 2003, and from 2007 drivers incurred three penalty points on their licence and a fine (£60 at first, then £100 from 2013).
But from 1 March 2017, the penalty doubled– so being caught using a mobile phone while driving now carries a penalty of six points and a £200 fine.
You can use a phone if it is fully hands-free – you’re not allowed to pick it up and use it to communicate, even momentarily.
Any hands-free devices should be fully set up before you drive, so you can take calls without handling the device.
Using a phone as a sat-nav: the law
It is no excuse to say you’re (the driver) following the mapping on your hand-held device and that’s why you’ve picked it up.
The mobile phone law specifically refers to this, stating it is illegal to use a hand-held mobile to follow a map.
If you wish to use smartphone navigation google maps or any mapping app, fix the phone to the windscreen or dashboard, so it’s in clear view for use while driving (but not obstructing your view), without requiring you to hold or interact with it.
When can you use a phone in your vehicle?
The law is clear on when you can use a hand-held device behind the wheel.
It is only legal if you are safely parked – and this does not include waiting in traffic or stationary at the traffic lights.
Contrary to what many drivers seem to think, the law still applies when your vehicle is stopped at lights or in heavy traffic. If your engine is running, your phone should be nowhere near your hands. This is still the case if the engine stops automatically to save fuel (called ‘start-stop technology’).
What are the penalties for using your phone while driving?
The penalty for being caught using a hand-held device while driving has been increased since the law was introduced in 2003. Today, it is a fixed penalty notice of £200, and six penalty points on your licence.
Drinking Driving Limit in Scotland
What is the limit?
From 5 December 2014, the drink drive limit in Scotland is now 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. Evidence from other countries show reducing the limit has reduced the number of incidents and saved lives.
How much can I drink and still be safe to drive?
The safest answer is “nothing”. It is very difficult to convert the new limit into an accurate estimate of how much you can drink because everyone is different. It depends on factors including the size and strength of the drink, a person’s age, gender and weight. Even a very small amount of alcohol affects your coordination, reaction times, judgement and ability to drive safely. It is impossible to judge whether you are over or under the legal limit without a breathalyser or blood test so the safest thing to do is to avoid alcohol completely if you have to drive.
What about driving the next day? You could still be over the limit the morning after a night’s drinking, even if you wake up feeling sober and refreshed. It takes the body around one hour to process one unit of alcohol; that means it could take up to 12 hours to be safe to drive after drinking a bottle of wine or 4 pints of beer. Only time will get alcohol out of your system, not black coffee, a meal or a few hours’ sleep.
Why isn’t the limit zero? A limit of 0mg/100ml wouldn’t be workable because there are very small amounts of alcohol in some foods, mouthwashes and medicines
What happens if I get caught driving over the limit? Being caught driving over the legal limit or failing to provide a specimen when required carries penalties of automatic loss of licence, a fine up to £5000, a criminal record and the possibility of a prison sentence. Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs could mean up to 10 years in prison, an unlimited fine and automatic disqualification from driving
SO, as you can see, the laws on drink driving in Scotland are extremely strict. We advise you DO NOT consume any alcohol if driving. Always watch the next morning if you have been drinking the night before!!
For more information contact the team at Lowland Motorhome Hire today