At Caledonian Couriers, we regularly travel the length and breadth of the country and have encountered most if not all major roads in Scotland. With the most perilous often offering the most beautiful views, Scotland has some of the best bad roads in the world. Buckle up for our definitive list of the worst offenders.
This is Scotland’s second largest road and has the second worst reputation (behind Scotland’s first largest road, the A9). In spite of its notoriety, the A82 is perhaps safest road on this list – not that that’s saying much.
The problems start with a gauntlet of hairpin bends as the A82 wends round Loch Lomond. Transport Scotland have committed to improving the road, with the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership declaring, “of the 147 miles (237 km) between Balloch and Inverness, only 42 miles (68 km) can be considered to be of a functional standard’. The road even has a dedicated campaign group, the A82 Partnership, set up solely to lobby the Scottish Government into improving the road’s conditions.
The A70 is known locally as the ‘Lang Whang’, which is Scots for a long leather bootlace. Strangely enough, this ancient road features heavily in Scottish lore. Legend has it that Rabbie Burns, after a day of traipsing along it, from Ayrshire to Edinburgh, rested for the night at the Wee Bush Inn in Carnwath. Burns summed up his exhaustion by engraving a graffito on the inn window: ‘Lang Whang, Lang Whang, Lang bloody Whang’. The notorious murderers Burke and Hare also used the road to transport their cadavers to Edinburgh Medical College. Most recently two Scottish men were, allegedly, abducted by a UFO while driving to Tarbrax from Edinburgh. The event became known as ‘The A70 Case’.
Despite its odd history, you are far more likely to crash on the A70 than encounter any murderers or UFOs. Both the Collins Atlas 2012 and AA Motoring Trust naming it one of the most dangerous roads in Scotland.
In March 2014, the events firm Driving Experience called the A726 the deadliest road in Scotland and one of the most treacherous in the world. Road Safety campaigner Graeme Macklin dubbed the road a ‘racetrack’ and said: ‘it shouldn’t take another death before someone will take notice’.
Scotland’s longest and most infamous road is the 273 mile-long spine of the country. It has perhaps the worst reputation of any road in Scotland and is the subject of a new BBC Scotland programme entitled Life and Death on the A9. It claimed another life as recently as last Sunday, the 25th of March 2014.
The most notorious section is an 80-mile stretch between Perth and Inverness. To tackle high fatalities, the road will be upgraded to a full dual carriageway. At the cost of 3bn, Transport Minister Keith Brown claims this is the biggest transport project in Scotland’s history. Despite striking fear in the heart of drivers, the A9 is not statistically the most dangerous road in Scotland.
In late 2012, the Road Safety Foundation named the A809 as the most dangerous road in Scotland and the third most dangerous road across the UK. Between 2006-2010, the narrow winding road, familiar to many Weegie daytrippers, was the site of 24 fatal or serious crashes: a 41% rise on previous years.
In 2007, researchers from The Association for Safe International Road Travel concluded the A77 was the 23rd most dangerous road in the world. That’s right, the world. Within a single decade 30 people died on the A77 and close to 250 people were seriously injured. As part of their study, these American researchers interviewed a number of locals, who claimed they were too scared to drive on the trunk road, which connects Glasgow with Prestwick Airport and the Northern Irish ferry terminals at Stranraer.
There are many contenders for worst road in Scotland – partially because there are so many ways you can analyse accident and fatality statistics. Relative to the amount of traffic it gets, both the Road Safety Foundation and EuroRap found in 2013 that the A937 is the worst road in Scotland. The relatively quiet 13km stretch saw 16 serious or fatal incidents between 2007-11. In particular, the junction between the A937 and A90 is notably treacherous, sparking a A937/A90 Junction Campaign Facebook page as well as a page entitled ‘A937 dangerous drivers name and shame’.
One thing you may notice is that all the roads listed are A-roads. This shouldn’t be surprising. A study carried out by the Road Safety Foundation concluded that A-Roads are seven times more dangerous than motorways, finding that almost no A-roads are classified as low-risk. Our list is by no means all-inclusive. Other deadly roads that deserve a mention include the A708, A74, A81, A7 and A85. Yes, even Lewis Hamilton should feel cautious on these Scottish roads, so be sure to stay safe!