Driving in Edinburgh – Our Top Tips

The historical city of Edinburgh is a gem for tourists, so you’re probably dying to jump into your hire car to explore. Before you rush off to experience the delights of this medieval city at the heart of the Lothian Region, however, there are a few things you need to know. Read on for top tips on driving in Scotland’s capital city…

· Remember drive on the left hand side of the road.

· The driving speed limit in the city is 30 miles per hour, although up to 40 mph is permissible on some roads, so keep an eye on the signs. Less built-up areas enforce a speed limit of 60mph on regular roads, whereas highways and motorways allow speeds of up to 70mph.

· When using roundabouts in Edinburgh and throughout Scotland, give way to all vehicles coming from your right.

· Best advice – don’t drink and drive! Note that the blood/alcohol limit for driving in Scotland is 80mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. As in all countries, it’s a serious offence to be above the legal limit, so don’t ruin your holiday by drinking and driving.

· Edinburgh is a bicycle-friendly city – so please be aware of the presence of cyclists on the roads in the city when driving.

· Edinburgh is known for having a strong presence of unmarked police cars on the roads; so make sure to always have your seatbelts on, in both front and rear. Child restraints/baby seats are standard by law, so please ensure all is in order when hiring your car. Children under 12 years of age who are under 135cm (4.5 feet tall) are required by law to use a child seat that is proper for their height.

· Please note that it’s illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone when driving, and also be aware that you could still be prosecuted for not having proper control of your vehicle when using a hands-free phone.

· Driving Licences – Holders of overseas driving licences are permitted to drive motor vehicles for up to 12 months in the UK. You must be at least 17 years old to drive in Edinburgh, but most rental car companies will not hire a car to anybody under 21. In any case, 17-year-olds must be accompanied by a fully qualified licencee with at least 3 years’ driving experience. Ensure you have your driver’s licence with you at all times.

· Parking in Edinburgh – check out our article Car Parking in Edinburgh.

· Edinburgh can be an extremely cold place in winter, with city temperatures plunging as low as -15C, so it’s important to be prepared for freezing conditions. Watch out for black ice on sheltered roads and have de-icer and anti freeze at the ready. Check that tyres adhere to the minimum thread depth of 1.6mm. Check out the following article for Winter Driving in Edinburgh.

Find out more about the rules of the road in Scotland using the Highway Code in the UK.

So, there you have it – a guide to driving in Edinburgh! If you’re travelling to Edinburgh this year, and want to hire a car, take a look at our car hire Edinburgh page.

Been to Edinburgh and have some driving tips to share? Please let us know!



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