Road safety measures on the A9

Road safety measures on the A9

Transport Scotland have provided information to the Committee about road safety measures that have been put in place to help make the A9 safer ahead of the dualling project being completed. These measures include: • enhanced road markings to help alert drivers when moving from their lane • illuminated road studs • improvements to the signage and road markings to increase driver awareness of the change from dual to single carriageway In addition, two road safety campaigns have been launched, one focused on driver fatigue and another encouraging the “Drive on the Left” message. These campaigns reflect trends identified in fatal accidents on the A9 in 2022. On a scale of 1 (least) to 5 (most), how far do you think these measures will improve road safety on the A9 during the period before dualling is completed? Click on the purple circles below to rate these measures between 1 and 5. Tell us more about your thoughts on these road safety measures and your priorities for improving road safety on the A9 using the comment boxes below.


Given the number of accidents and deaths it is clear that the proposed measures for this road are not adequate, the only solution is for it to be a dual carriageway. This was promised and not delivered by the SNP government and the deaths ore on their watch.

Any improvement measures are of course welcome. Sadly however, they are too little, too late The issue of driver confusion - both local nationals & foreign tourists - is all too obvious. Dualling the A9 and installing grade separated junctions is the only way to remove accidents at junctions (vehicles turning right against traffic) and head on collisions by dualling single carriageway sections.

We need some 24 per day roadside facilities to stop - toilets, maybe food and fuel, well lit for personal safety - I recently waited 2h for a breakdown recovery on the A9 at Perth and in that time, 4 vehicles stopped for driver/passenger to got to the toilet - this is barbaric, imagine an elderly person with a weak bladder having to stop on Drumochter on a dark, snowy night for a pee...Ralia shuts when the cafe does but is dangerous for southbound as you have to cross the northbound

Improved signs work well, visitors from other countries always comment on how good cats eyes & illuminated signs are. I would expect poor visibility & night driving are significant contributors to accidents & so full support improving these elements.

These measures will help with road safety to some degree.

No 'safety measures' can overcome driver patience, stupidity and selfishness or tell non uk drivers to stay on the left. But too many junctions are badly laid out, badly marked and require slowing in the right hand lane and pulling across the fast moving opposite carriageway or pulling out into the right hand lane with fast moving traffic approaching head on which is the most difficult to judge.Overseas drivers must wonder what Mickey Mouse third world country.they are visiting!

These measures will not solve all the problems and SHOULD NOT be seen as a substitute for dualling the entire road.

I think it's critical to improve the signage at the change from dual to single carriageway. This can be confusing (e.g., the blue arrow entry sign and the no entry sign being above each other in places rather than side by side). Also need reminders of the type of carriageway as in some of the sections (e.g., south of Dalwhinnie), if the road is quiet, it's easy to lose track of whether you're on single or dual carriageway. I imagine this is even more the case for foreign drivers.

How much will this all cost- use the money towards actually dualling the road asap.

Money spent on many of these measures is futile. Signs telling drivers to not ‘drive while tired’ are condescending and a waste of money. How about just spending the money fixing the road!

PS I think we all know full dualling isn't happening.

The electronic sign campaign IMHO is a waste of money, and would have been better spent improving road markings, improving road signage - too many junctions have a plethera of signboards approaching the junction - simplify - 2miles out, 1 sign showing primary long distant destinations, 1 mile out, local destinations, then 1 sign 500m out saying the road number , along with the countdown 3-2-1 boards. Install wire barriers between lanes where the red areas are, and in accident black spots etc

Anything to raise awareness of risks and to encourage drivers to be more observant of their conduct can only be a good thing. More intermittent signage of speed limits to remind those both familiar or not with the road that they should perhaps not be racing or tailgating at high speeds!

This could be improved upon, by using the strategy that is employed at docks etc. Having warning signs in different languages saying drive on the left, deployed at main junctions, and various points along the A9. Add a minimum speed limit, and/or signs requesting caravans, campervans, and any other vehicles that can't do the speed limit,to pull into laybys, to let faster vehicles pass.

Regular speed limit reminders are required in both single and dual sections. It’s evident tourists and those not familiar with the road think the car speed limit is 50mph as per HGV signs and also don’t know how the average speed cameras work I.e no need to excessively break on coming across one. Signage needs to be numbered and not just the “national limit” sign as this may be unfamiliar to visitors. On the continent the speed limit sign will be a number for the Kmh.

The junctions aren't fit for purpose now as the entire road was designed when there was much less traffic. Tourists drive too slowly, then everyone else drives aggressively to overtake them. Adding a better rail service to the Central Belt would help get cars off the road but it's so slow & unreliable you end up having to drive. The only real solution is making the whole thing a dual carriageway, which is what we're still waiting on.

Direction Arrows painted on the roadway at the start of each single carriageway section and before and after junctions and repeated at regular intervals would help drivers realise that they were on single carriageway sections. Also, "WRONG WAY" or standard red and white "No Entry" signs should be placed at dual carriageway junctions to reduce drivers starting to travel on the wrong side of the dual carriageway.

Investment must be put into a proper service between Aviemore and Pitlochry area. There is nowhere realistic to stop safely and easily accessible and at night there is absolutely nothing. Having made a return trip on the A9 every weekend for over a year (Friday evening and Sunday evening) there was nothing open next to the road between Aviemore and Perth. Those unfamiliar with the road will be even more stuck for places to stop for a break and services.

After a multiple fatality accident on the A90 at the Laurencekirk junction, new speed limits, warning signs and cameras were introduced. Similar measures should be introduced approaching each of the dangerous A9 junctions. Better indication along the full length all single carriage way sections e.g. coloured markers, illuminated studs or lines to CONSTANTLY remind drivers. Deal with speeding drivers and publish the data. Get regular and frequent police presence - not just at accidents

The spend feels more for the headline than actual tangible benefit. Seems like a scatter gun approach to road safety and could have gone to better use just maintaining whats there. Loads of areas with poor markings and studs. The led studs I think are dimmer than (maintained) regular ones and I bet crazy expensive. Some of the ones at Dunkeld stopped working and they were only there a short time! Given how so many of the accidents are from overtaking I’m not sure how they help?

Illuminating junctions and having 3,2,1 countdown signs on A9 for every junction.

Definitely more speed limit signs would be helpful, going from dual to single carriageway, especially for tourists. The electronic signs should be used for any accidents or traffic restrictions on the road that could cause congestion rather than reminding people to take a break when tired.. Think people should use common sense in that respect..

More signage about the national speed limit. There are no national speed limit signs on the A9 Perth - Inverness. Cars travelling at 40/50 mph causing long queues behind. Police presence for enforcement of vehicles to pull over if there is a long line of traffic. Slow traffic causes the frustration which in turn leads to some very scary overtaking, witnessed to many close calls. Education on average speed cameras, so many drivers see the cameras and brake.

1. Clear vegetation from inside curves which impedes forward visibility. Particularly bad examples at Dalmagarry, Ralia, successive curves south of House of Bruar, and Fonab to name but a few. 2. Look at turning single/dual carriageway interfaces into roundabout junctions. 3. Police crackdown on "driving without consideration for other road users" - e.g. (a) those who dither along at 45mph (and/or erratic speed) on single sections and truckers who overtake each other on dual sections

Three times in the past ten years I have encountered what turned out to be Foreign Tourists driving Southbound from the B851 (from Farr) junction on the outside lane of the Northbound Dual Carriageway (correct if it was Single Carriageway). Luckily I've managed to alert them on coming towards their car. They stopped, turned round after a quick word from me and the traffic following also realised and stopped. Grade separation at junctions on existing Dual Carriageway sections is a PRIORITY!

If 60/70mph signage could make the road safer then that seems a simple, sensible and cost effective measure, particularly when the Cabinet Secretary describes the A9 as "unfit for purpose". If Transport Scotland consider 60/70mph signage is appropriate for other roads in Scotland (the A720, A1, etc), then they have already made exceptions to the national expectation that drivers should make reference to the "National Speed Limit" in the Highway Code.

The safety measures undertaken so far don't seem to deal with accident blackspots or the apparent frustration of slow drivers (possibly picking up the trial HGV 50mph roundells). There have recently been a number of comments on the Facebook group about the stress involved in undertaking journeys on the A9. Worrying about the potential accident risks or delays that might impact on A9 journeys is stressful. Electronic signage could set out the anticipated journey times between key points.

The role of the A9 Safety Group could be clarified. They seem to have very little visibility yet apparently are one of the most important groups involved in improving the safety of the A9 for its users. Has this Group conducted an audit of the existing road (junctions, signage, speed limit signage, lay-bys, etc.) between Perth and Inverness and, if so, what were the findings and recommendations. Can the profile of the A9 Safety Group be clarified and improved for the public?

These types of measures are a distraction from dualling. Successive governments have tinkered with road markings, lines, signs and even paining the middle of the road different colours, none of which have made any difference. The only reasons fatalities have not been higher are that drink driving has become socially unacceptable and vehicle safety has improved dramatically. Stop wasting time and money with these types of intitiatives. Get on with dualling now.

There have recently been a number of comments on Laùra Hänsler's Facebook page about the stress involved in undertaking journeys on the A9. Worrying about the potential accident risks or delays that might impact on A9 journeys is stressful. When there is a stoppage, the roads on the alternative diversionary route are often unsuitable for the density and size of the vehicles using them with some bridges being unsuitable for HGV's. The resultant delays give the A9 a poor environmental footprint.

The result of all the various piecemeal upgrades appears to have created a dangerous road, a mishmash of a road linking Perth and Inverness with:- a) both older and new dualled sections with differing standards; b) original (1970's) single carriageway sections; c) some modernised single carriageway sections - some constructed to dual carriageway standards and then reduced to single carriageway by red lining, ie at Pitlochry. Have they been audited by Road Safety Scotland?

Better road signage at junctions and clearer speed limits for different vehicles. All junctions need slip roads to allow drivers to enter and exit the A9 safety

Dualling the full length would help to reduce accidents, but it is all very well to provide grade separated junctions on the newly dualled sections. existing dual sections have several junctions, which should also be upgraded to grade separated, or removed and alternative routes and access points constructed, avoiding right turns on or off. Trial (for how long?) 50mph limit for heavy lorries does not help, as it was easier to pass a lorry travelling at 40mph than one at 50.

Turning right on to traffic is one of the main causes of accidents there needs to be a way of fixing this but this cannot be fixed by simply painting more lines and adding new road studs. This sort of change can only be done with proper investment and change to the road infrastructure. Clear signage which states what the speed limit is (i.e 60 or 70) would help rather than having the ambiguous "national speed limit" signs which tourists may not understand. Service and rest areas also

The problem is people drive (generally) too fast, agressively, and take risks. Slow the traffic, force the groupthink to adjust to a slower pace. Use average speed cameras, reduce the speed limit to 50 and enforce it rigourously, calm it down. Everyone will use less gas, and it'll be gentler and kinder to the people that live and work in the vicinity of the road, including the businesses. Anyone that's actually tried to walk alongside the A9 will have a sense of its danger. Behaviour is key.

Lowing the speed limit, more average speed cameras and 12 points and you driving licence is revoked with no exceptions.

Allow vans and lorries to travel at 60mph. Same as cars. The speed differential causes large tailbacks and increases tension on the road. Also remove the 50mph signs for lorries. These are recognised by some cars which then post 50mph on the dashboard. Drivers unfamiliar with the road then drive at 50mph.

I have been driving up & down the A9 since the 1970s & remember the ‘old’ A9 before the current realignment & dualling. It has always been a long boring road with long queues & few safe overtaking opportunities. What has changed is the speed of cars and the impatience of drivers who think it is a race track. The average speed cameras help by stopping the speeders appearing from nowhere behind you. Increase the HGV limit to 60mph & more warning for tourists in form of arrows and signs on RIGHT.

Minor changes which do not address the problems. Dualling is really the answer, but interim measures to improve road junctions would help. One source of frustration is that vehicles travelling more slowly and cause long tail back will speed up on reaching a stretch of dual carriageway. This particularly applies to lorries, who naturally use the dual carriageway to overtake a slower moving vehicle in front of them but may take a mile or more to overtake that vehicle!

Better Police enforcement on the route. I hardly ever see a marked police vehicle.

Bad driving causes accidents, people don’t pay attention to or understand signs, average speed is being ignored. The rules are there already we don’t need more they just need to be enforced.

In improvements up until now, I found it strange that straight stretches of road were chosen for the initial upgrading to three lanes: up to the upgrade, vehicles travelling in both directions could use those stretches of road to overtake but once three lands were introduced, only possible in one direction. And then one of the first new sections of dual carriageway upgraded a three lane section of road rather than dualling a part of the A9 where overtaking was currently impossible.

Currently traffic on the single carriageway sections proceeds at approx. 55 mph because that is the normal maximum speed of the trucks and the tourists who think the limit is 50 . The road is unique in Scotland as it was designed in the 1970s with no steep gradients nor sharp bends to suit the then National speed limit of 70 mph. A lot of the frustrated and dangerous overtaking could be avoided if all traffic on this road was permitted to drive at 60 mph.

I believe the measures above represent tinkering which will achieve little. The priority must be to make the road safer by full dualling, with grade separated junctions. If we are to reduce speeds across the UK (good luck with that) then reduce them on the A9. If not, then why penalise the north of Scotland by increasing journey times? The UK national speed limit is fine - if you could consistently travel at that speed. Conditions on the A9 are such that you can't. Full dualling is the solution

Remove the speed cameras. Absolute big brother i'm stopping you, waste of money implementing, and annoying as you spend most of your time checking your speed. I avoid it because of it.

The government has been telling me in correspondence since 2017 that they are ‘committed to completing dualling by 2025’ despite clear evidence that it would not be possible. The MSPs that I corresponded with could offer no more clarity than Transport Scotland. No-one in a position of power has owned nor driven this project. A dynamic leader to champion this project is required. No more faceless and meaningless platitudes re the programme of works.

Drive on the left signs are on the left side of the road - only helping drivers who are already driving on the left! Has anyone read a Don’t Drive Tired sign and pulled over for a rest?? How much are these digital signs costing?

More repeater signs for speed limits, especially after junctions and moving between dual and single laned sections. Resolve the issue with new and therefore hire cars displaying speed limit as 50 rather than 60….is it a Google problem? Must be confusing for visitors. Consider reducing limit to 40/50 at known danger points such as House of Bruar junction.

In addition to my previous comments… Consider drastic action to reduce crossing over carriageway at dangerous junctions, e.g. Ralia, where vehicles could only access if travelling northbound…realise that would mean nearest access/egress southbound would be Kingussie but would be safer. No commercials/caravans etc in outside lanes of dualled sections to reduce bunching at section end. Less cash generating safety camera vans and more police patrols across the A9….where have they all gone?

I strongly support the retention of the 50pmh limit on HGVs. My experience is that some HGV drivers are going faster than 50mph at night and I wondered if this is because their registration numbers can't be captured by the cameras in the dark? It is very intimidating to have a huge HGV with dazzling bright lights at night, driven by someone who knows the A9 intimately, almost forcing one off the road when one is driving at 60mph.

Just a waste of time, the current road should be maintained to a high standard now with BEAR Scotland with clear signage and clear road markings, something they are not very good at doing now.

More drivers could be discouraged from using their cars if rail transport can be improved. Peak time/summer trains to and from Inverness can be horrendously overcrowded with no service and high prices. Currently part of the problem.

All of the measures, if implemented and maintained would provide low cost effective methods of reducing the number of accidents

The trial 50mph signs for HGV need to be removed. It confuses some people, and if a car has the recognition in place it automatically just reads the figure and limits the vehicle's speed. Dualling is the priority but in the meantime better/more speed signs on ALL the different sections would make a big difference, in my opinion. Some key junctions also need urgent improvement, the ones which are currently accident blackspots.

When dualling was first announced in 2011, there were also proposals to improve rail journey times and increase capacity for rail freight. To this day the strategy for transport in Scotland includes these measures. Only some signalling improvements have been carried out. None of the necessary rail track improvements have been carried out. Taking freight off the A9 onto rail will improve safety

Drivers should also be encouraged to reduce tailbacks by being reminded to drive to the speed limit if conditions allow and/or pull over to release following traffic. Drivers should also be reminded to maintain gaps (and not close them when vehicles are overtaking). There is some spectacularly bad and dangerous behaviour by people who probably consider themselves to be safe. They're fooling themselves.

Lighting would certainly help especially in our long dark winters for commuters

I guess anything that could improve things on the A9 is a start, the problems are so much bigger than a few light up signs etc Get it dualled.

Suggest that entry to and egress from lay-bys can only be made from the adjacent carriageway, ie no crossing or turning allowed.

While any measures to improve safety are welcome the A9 in inherently an unsafe road by virtue of its design. Only when it is dualled up the standard that applies to other main city to city roads in Scotland will casualties be reduced.

I'm sorry, but all of the Transport Scotland proposals are basic necessities that should always have been in place. We need the police to enforce the law, we need actual infrastructure changes in the most dangerous spots e.g. Ralia, and we need to get on with the dualling programme.

My experience on most journeys has been to find occasional motorists causing long queues because they think that there is a 50 mph speed limit. They were often observed braking suddenly when they noticed the average speed cameras. The signage needs to be much clearer so that car drivers know they can drive at 60 mph

Some road markings and new signage won't stop the carnage, what a waste of money

Remove the pointless dual language signage. These are a danger to all motorists. Few can read the dead language and it takes extra time to decipher the destination people are looking for.

Allowing HGVs to travel at 50mph

There needs to be a better way to turn right out of junctions heading north every one who turns right has to cross two live lanes Have a proper service area 24 hours where drivers can use the facilities food drink toilets are not available on the A9 at night Drive on the left signs have to be in multiple languages

The site investigations and preliminary designs for the route and junctions have been completed. All significant junctions should be provided with slip roads and over bridges as a priority in a way that could align with eventual dualling in the future. This way the most hazardous aspect of the A9 could be eliminated. Major safety gain within minimum timescale and reasonable budget.

Speed limit signs on single and dual carriageway sections would be helpful. Redirecting traffic from House of Bruar heading north through Calvine would avoid right turns across traffic on to A9. Distance to end of dual carriageway signs on every section not just Drumochter. Allow overtaking immediately on northbound dual carriageway at Ballinluig...why is first few hundred yards of outside lane hatched?

These are minor changes which don't really address the main issue or the fact that the road is not dual carriageway. Probably in the 'nice to have' category but unlikely to make any substantive impact.

Building the dual carriageway shoujd be the memorial

These are tinkering on the sidelines. Money better spent getting on with the job of dialling. Do you have evidence that these measures reduce accidents?

Two way road reminders on single carriageway sections would help, especially at night

Two way road reminders on single carriageway sections would help, especially at night.

If illuminated road studs aren't going everywhere then update all cats eyes at least.

Many users of the A9 have their own opinions about how safety matters could be significantly improved (until it has a fully dualled) but there doesn't appear to be any centralised mechanism to submit suggestions.

I understand Transport Scotland are aware of the confusion caused by the HGV trial 50mph speed limit roundels signs with vehicle navigation systems arising from the "trial" 50mph HGV system. They have told me Bear are researching alternatives to the 50mph roundells but we have yet to be told about the solution.

Transport Scotland has put forward technical reasons for not installing 60/70mph signage to clearly indicate the single and dual carriageway sections to motorists. This stance is reiterated by Lawrence Shackman of Transport Scotland in his 24 August 2023 letter to Sarah Fyfe at the Inverness Courier, saying reliance must be placed on the Highway Code. However, he acknowledges that they have already made exceptions to this rule on a number of routes so why can the A9 not have 60/70mph signs?

The junctions are one of the most dangerous features, prioritise slip lanes and underpasses over dualling. I drive the A9 almost every day and see so much dangerous/aggressive driving, usually tailgating and overtaking , why are there never any police around?

Several times this summer I have observed drivers in the overtaking lane of the dual carriageway holding up traffic by refusing to move to the left hand lane. On most occasions there was evidence that the offending drivers were foreign tourists. This led to dangerous ‘undertaking’ manoeuvres by some drivers. The dual carriageway sections need signs saying ‘keep left unless overtaking’ or similar.

What is the point in highlighting 'take a break' when there is hardly anywhere to take a break & nowhere at all overnight.

Please amend the lorry "trial" speed limit signs. Many newer cars have a speed recognition and I have often witnessed cars slowing to 50mph immediately after the HGV signs, then when the car "sees" the national speed limit sign, they speed up to 60mph again. My own car tells me it is 50mph but I have travelled the A9 long enough to know it is 60mph. However if you are a tourist, especially a foreign tourist in a rented car, then you will slow to 50mph! More drive on the left information too!

Stop wasting time and money. Dual the road and improve the junctions.

The junction signage is not always consistent and many junctions off the A9 do not have 300/200/100 metre markers making the junctions difficult to spot (amongst all the other signs), ie the Carrbridge junction driving south. Perhaps there could be an audit of the signage along the route to ensure consistency for both dual and single carriageway sections.

Speed limit signs would help keep traffic moving: make limits clear for cars and lorries on dual carriageway vs trunk roads

Disallow motorists from using lay-bys on opposite side of road or carrying out u-turns from lay-bys.

Have I missed something while driving up and down the A9, oh yes nice new road markings, this should have been maintained through the years, drive on the left, if you haven’t worked that out by the time you come across one of these signs perhaps you have been extremely lucky! Illuminated road studs, now this I still wait to see and how long will they last?

As an immediate measure the A9 sliproads and junctions into the villages/ towns in Badenoch and Strathspey should be lit up with street lights. Not forgetting the Tomatin junction. Why this area was left out of this safety procedure fails me Street lights were put in place at the Munlochy Junction north of Inverness., the same should happen in Badenoch and Strathspey without delay.

We have witnessed a number of near miss collisions on the A9 which we regularly travel to get to Inverness and further north and southwards to the Central Belt. It can be very stressful travelling this road especially if trying to get to the airport or undertake crucial health appointments. There are few alternative routes if the road is blocked because of an accident or any other incidents.

The A9 is getting busier all the time and there is no doubt dualling will go a long way towards helping driver safety and resolve the issues of driver confusion caused by the changes from single to dual carriageway. We would also like to see the removal of the 50mph signs for lorries as this causes confusion or change the signs to make it much more obvious that the speed applies just to lorries and not general motorists.

We are also anxious to see work started on the A9 dualling because it has somehow got linked to our need for an NMU from our village of Carrbridge to Aviemore. We need to see this long awaited NMU particularly the first stretch from Carrbridge to the Kinveachy junction progressed in advance of the dualling work commencing.

It's a start but there needs to be more focus on the junctions to ensure drivers are traveling at appropriate speeds on approach.

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