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Single-track roads and Passing Places

Common Gull

© Martin Jones

Single Track Roads

If this is your first visit to Mull it may also be your first encounter with single track roads. They can be a bit daunting at first, but you'll soon get the hang of it if you follow the guidelines. Think of them as very short stretches of twin-track road, and you'll avoid most of the pitfalls.

Passing places occur frequently. Most are marked by a black and white banded pole, although some have the newer diamond shaped reflective sign which is easier to see at night.

See this short video about single-track roads

Pied Wagtail

© Martin Jones

Passing Places

Passing places serve two equally important purposes:

  1. 1. They allow opposing traffic to pass
  2. 2. They allow faster traffic to overtake slower

The first is obvious, the second is equally important but often overlooked.

Please keep an eye on your mirror, and pull into a passing place to allow others to overtake. Doing so not only avoids road-rage, it also prevents the build-up of convoys. Convoys (groups of vehicles bunched together) make normal passing more difficult, particularly when opposing convoys meet.

Greylag goose

© Martin Jones

Some Passing Place Guidlines

  • Keep a look-out well ahead for on-coming traffic and passing-places
  • If the passing place is on your left, pull into it
  • If it's on your right, stop opposite. Don't pull into a passing place on your right
  • If the on-coming vehicle stops for you, drive past with care and a wave of thanks
  • Use passing places to let faster vehicles overtake. Keep an eye on your mirror
  • NEVER park in a Passing Place

© Martin Jones

Keep a good look out and anticipate

It's often possible to see on-coming traffic well ahead, particularly on winding coastal roads. Try to anticipate where you'll meet, and pull into a passing place in good time. It saves a lot of reversing and can actually make travel quicker.

Even so there will be times when you'll meet traffic unexpectedly between passing places. Be prepared to reverse.


© Martin Jones

Pulling in to Passing Places

Pull in to passing places on your left. Stop opposite those on your right and let the oncoming/overtaking vehicle go through the passing place. Think of passing places as short sections of twin-track road. The reasons become obvious when there's more than one vehicle in each direction.

When stopping opposite, try to stop in the middle, so that the on-coming vehicle can easily swing in and out of the passing place without having to stop.

Hen-harrier (fem)

© Martin Jones

Allow faster vehicles to overtake

Pull in to a passing place (or stop opposite) to allow faster vehicles to overtake. They may have a ferry to catch or an appointment to keep. Nobody denies your right to drive at 30mph and admire the scenery, but please don't make everyone do the same.

Don't park in Passing Places

If you park in a passing place it may prevent its proper use and lead to vehicles having to reverse further than necessary.


© Martin Jones

Habits to avoid !

These points apply particularly when the passing place is on your right and you are stopping on the road:

Don't stop before a passing place and wait for the oncoming vehicle to pull in and stop. Instead adjust your speed so that (ideally) neither of you have to stop.

Don't go so far towards the far end of the passing place that the oncoming vehicle doesn't have room to pull in easily.

Iona Ferry

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