Scotland welcomes millions of visitors every year, and many of these visitors enjoy hiring a vehicle to experience the beauty of Scotland’s rural landscapes.

However, many may be unfamiliar with driving etiquette in Scotland, particularly for more rural locations e.g., using single-track roads and passing places.

Tourists driving on the wrong side of the road has long been an issue in Scotland, with many lives lost from disorientated drivers not used to driving on the left hand side of the road.

In recent years, a number of fatal accidents and near-misses on the A9 between Perth and Inverness involving drivers from overseas has provoked calls for more to be done to educate drivers.

READ MORE: 'Suicide driving' on NC500 by 30-strong car tour sparks local anger

Ahead of the 2023 peak tourist season, Road Safety Scotland introduced its latest 'Drive on the Left' campaign, urging drivers to stay safe and alert during their journey through Scotland.

The initiative, done in partnership with Police Scotland and the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), saw materials such as ‘‘Drive on the Left’ wristbands, leaflets and instructional windscreen stickers distributed to car rental venues and tourist spots across Scotland.

Despite being launched in March, a viral video which has attracted widespread media coverage in Spain has prompted Road Safety Scotland to once more urge drivers to stay safe and alert during their journey through Scotland.

The video, titled ‘Meltdown of the year’, shows a Spanish tourist getting into difficulty as he attempts to drive on the left-hand side of an unnamed busy road in Scotland.

The Herald: A screengrab of the video. Credit: TikTok @LauraDomens5A screengrab of the video. Credit: TikTok @LauraDomens5 (Image: TikTok)

In the video, which has been viewed thousands of times on social media app TikTok, the driver can be heard telling the fellow occupants of the vehicle: “"Wait. I have to drive on the left. Remind me at all times, please, without making me nervous”. 

The driver then asks which way he should approach a roundabout before criticising the British custom of driving on the left side of the road: “On the left? (...) These f***ing Brits, they really make me sick.”

The driver and the occupants of the vehicle then agree that their situation is “terrible”, and note that the incident is one of many several “scares” they have faced while driving on the roads in Scotland.

Responding to the viral video, a spokesperson for Road Safety Scotland told The Herald: “We know drivers from overseas may not be used to driving on the left or be unfamiliar with the road layout, but we still want them to visit and enjoy Scotland.  

READ MORE: Warning issued to NC500 roadtrippers after scores stopped by police

“We have made a considerable effort, working with the British Vehicle and Rental and Leasing Agency,  Visit Scotland, Police Scotland and other partners to ensure we provide as much information as possible.  In March, the campaign was relaunched to support people visiting and driving in Scotland.

“We produced wristbands and leaflets in a number of languages, as well as a window sticker to remind drivers of the correct approach at junctions, and these were made available at airports, on ferries, at car rental venues, tourist spots and VisitScotland centres.  In addition, a link to an online animated video was provided.

“Habit determines much of our driving behaviour and, if you're not used to driving on the left, it’s easy to go into autopilot and drive on the right. When driving in Scotland it's important to override the autopilot and drive 'consciously' – especially at junctions, when entering a road with no other traffic, or entering a roundabout. This is particularly important early in the morning or late at night when other traffic may be at a minimum.

“Junctions can be challenging if you're not used to driving on the left, so make sure you look both ways when checking for traffic, and turn onto the correct side of the carriageway.

“When driving on the left is not the norm, enlist the help of others in the vehicle, asking them to not distract you, and use a ‘co-pilot’ to help in tricky circumstances or when you need to rely on a satnav, or are trying to follow directions.  Finally, plan your journey and avoid driving tired by taking regular breaks. If you feel tired while driving, stop for a coffee, have a rest and, if you can, share the driving with a fellow traveller.”