Police Scotland is once again issuing advice for those travelling on the NC500 this summer.

The North Coast 500 has been described as one of the world’s most beautiful road trips.  Whilst we welcome the increase of visitors looking to experience our beautiful country we are saddened to see the increase in complaints of poor driving and speeding along the route.

Following a weekend of enforcement by road policing officers and safety camera staff on the NC500, where a total of 25 speed related offences were detected a number of which will be referred to the Procurator Fiscal, we would like to remind those local to the area and visitors to consider the following in a bid to increase the driving standards:

  • Many roads in the Highlands area are classified as rural roads so prepare for the unexpected, as you never know what could be round the corner.
  • Drive at a speed that doesn’t affect your decision-making ability – this could be well below the speed limit.
  • Look out for blind summits and hidden dips. Keep an eye on road signs and slow down as you approach.
  • Single-track roads – these are only wide enough for one vehicle and you will see signs for ‘passing places’. If you observe a vehicle travelling 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. Do not park in passing places.
  • Give way to vehicles coming uphill whenever you can. If necessary, reverse until you reach a passing place to let the other vehicle pass.
  • Be prepared for pedestrians, horse riders, cyclists, farm livestock or wild animals moving from one side of the road to the other. Allow yourself enough time and space to move either into a passing place or off the road.
  • Always reduce your speed on the approach to built-up areas.
  • Fasten your seat belt – it could make a crucial difference to you and your passengers in the event of a crash.
  • Prepare for the unexpected – you might know the road like the back of your hand, but conditions and other traffic are always changing.
  • Put away any distractions. Ignore your phone and do not attempt to set your Sat-Nav while driving.

Inspector Donnie Mackinnon of the Highland and Islands Road Policing Unit said “We recognise that the Highlands and Islands and particularly the NC500 road network carry large numbers of local and visitor traffic and through Operation Cedar (challenge, educate, detect and reduce) we are committed to tackling poor driving standards and reducing casualties across the North of Scotland.  We deploy marked and unmarked car patrols and marked motorcycle patrols alongside our colleagues in the Safety Camera Unit across a variety of locations.  I would like to emphasise the importance respecting other road users and those who live in our communities which can be achieved through considerate, safe and responsible driving.”  

Eric Dunion, Police Scotland’s North Safety Camera Unit Manager said “We are keen for all those travelling on the roads in the North of Scotland to have an enjoyable experience.  This summer we are enforcing at locations identified by our road policing and local authority colleagues under the short term deployment scheme. Details of all enforcement locations can be found on our website. I would urge all motorists to modify their behaviour, follow the advice listed above, and travel within the speed limits which are in place for the safety of all road users.”

Craig Mills, Head of Operations for NC500 Ltd, which markets the route to visitors, said "Our message to all visitors is that safety is the number one priority for a good trip on the NC500. Not only is it about driving on tricky roads in ways that don't risk accidents; it's also about being courteous to other road users, particularly people who live and work in local communities along the route.  We work closely with Police Scotland and a range of partners across the region committed to managing road safety and we're always grateful for the steps officers take to monitor and prevent poor or dangerous driving."

For further information please see:
Police Scotland - https://www.scotland.police.uk/advice-and-information/road-safety 
Safety Cameras – www.safetycameras.gov.scot/cameras/safety-cameras-locations/north/
North Coast 500 - www.northcoast500.com