Worst winter roads in Scotland highlighted

The A9 Berriedale Braes from above
The A9 Berriedale Braes from above

Scottish motorists have been urged to take care when driving on seven routes branded the country’s most dangerous during winter.

A list of perilous Scottish roads has been compiled to warn car owners where they should be particularly wary now cold weather is beginning to set in.

A survey of the worst winter roads found twisty routes can incite fear into even the most experienced of drivers when the weather deteriorates.


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Top of the list is the Berriedale Braes on the A9 in Caithness.

Tim Alcock of motoring specialists LeaseCar.uk, who carried out the survey, said: “This section poses a risk to all drivers who don’t approach it with caution.

“The road drops from a height of 492 feet to 65 feet as it enters a valley and features a challenging hairpin at the centre of it.

“Construction of planned improvements has been put forward, costing £9 million, but until this is completed it will remain one a challenging section of road.”

Next on the list is the 176-mile stretch of the A90 from Perth to Fraserburgh – with the section between Aberdeen and Fraserburgh particularly notorious.

It is statistically one of the worst roads in the country, with 147 serious crashes over the last four years, 35 of which resulted in deaths.

Mr Alcock said: “This means every ten days a serious road incident will take place, making it one of the most dangerous routes in Scotland.”

The A9 – Scotland’s longest road at 73 miles – comes third and is also statistically one of the most testing in the country, with 94 serious incidents and 28 fatalities occurring over the last four years.

Mr Alcock said: “Don’t be fooled by the sunning scenic views along the road as it remains one of the most-deadly.”

The A82, a road that featured in the blockbuster James Bond film Skyfall, also features on the list.

Located in the Highlands at the start of the A82, the road described as “narrow and with tight hairpin bends not wide enough for two vehicles”.

Drivers are urged take care particular during the winter months when black ice can be frequent, humbling even the best of drivers.

Also included on the list are:

Cairnwell: A tricky mountain pass located nearly 2,200 feet above sea level, making it the highest main road in the UK.

The road is usually open all year but can be closed in extreme conditions.

However, drivers still need to be aware even when the road is open as sharp double-hairpin bends can take their toll.

Glen Quaich Road:  One of the most picturesque roads in the country, it is located in Perth and Kinross.

Tight hairpin switch backs, large undulating bumps and no road markings, make this it one of the most challenging tests for drivers in Scotland.

Bealach-na-ba: A tight, twisting, single-track mountain road, it is the third highest road in Scotland, rising over 2000 feet in places.

Regular gradients of 20% are common on this road, which should not be attempted by the faint-hearted.

Built in 1822, it is advised that learner drivers, very large vehicles and caravans should not continue after the first mile, leaving only the most experienced drivers to tackle the road.

Mr Alcock added: “No matter how long you have been driving, if the road is icy and you are driving along one of these routes, the risk of you crashing is unfortunately very high – that’s why we like to recommend other routes.

“But for some this is not a viable option, so little things like equipping your vehicle with winter tyres and ensuring satisfactory visibility will unquestionably improve your safety on dangerous routes during the harsh winter months.”

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