Yorkshire Dales Driving Advice, Hints and Tips
The terrain of the Dales can make driving a unique experience. Particularly if you’re used to driving on long, straight or wide roads. Expect narrow roads –often wide enough for only one vehicle. Expect some steep hills and winding roads. Expect wildlife- sheep wander freely. Below are some hints and tips for driving in the Dales.
- Roads may be single lane with no central line-drive considerately. Slow right down if a vehicle approaches and pull into the side as far as possible to let the other vehicle pass. Look out for the other driver waving you forward or flashing his lights. This means they want you to pass them.
- Take note of passing places on narrow roads. One of the vehicles may need to reverse to the last passing place and obviously its best for the closest car to the passing place to do that.
- Drive carefully but try and travel in line with the speed of other vehicles. Bear in mind that local traffic may be trying to get to jobs or appointments so be considerate. If you notice a line of cars building up behind you, pull over at the first opportunity and let them pass.
- You’ll no doubt want to stop to admire the views and take photos. Keep an eye in your rear mirror and only stop if it’s safe to do so. Don’t brake suddenly, or on the brow of a hill or on a bend. Don’t block single lane roads.
- Take note of the weather if travelling in Winter. Check forecasts and ask locals for advice if bad weather is forecast. Conditions can change quickly in the high areas of the Dales and the roads are isolated. You don’t want to get stranded if the weather changes and in many areas, there will be no mobile phone signal. If travelling on an isolated route in Winter let someone know where you’re heading for.
- If sheep are on the road slow down. They often appear unconcerned by traffic but you could easily startle them which may cause them to run in front of your car.
- If you get lost pull over and ask directions. Indecision and last minute changes of direction at junctions are main causes of collisions. Wait till it’s safe to stop, then ask a local for advice.
- Pick the right rental car – Unless you plan to drive off road, or weather is forecast to be bad you shouldn’t need a 4WD. Also, there’s little point renting a huge saloon car for 2 people on narrow roads. Similarly, you won’t be driving fast so there’s no point renting a Ferrari!
- However, there are options beyond the usual car rental companies if you want to Drive the Dales in style. The Open Road Yorkshire rent classic cars and British sports cars from their base near the Dales.
- Don’t drink and drive – legal limits in UK are – 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood or 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine. Though you may feel you’re miles from anywhere, the police do patrol rural roads and will routinely stop drivers. As the roads are narrow too, your margin for error is much reduced. If you’re having a drink, leave the car and walk home through the fields, which is more fun anyway!
In terms of which roads are appropriate for larger vehicles, the Yorkshire Dales Official website www.YorkshireDales.org.uk has a great online PDF map showing road hierarchies and which roads can be driven by which vehicles.