Driving in Scotland under the new five-tier system: What the latest restrictions mean for motorists

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced changes to Scotland’s tiered lockdown system, with several areas moving up into higher tiers.

These higher levels bring stricter limits on people’s lives, including where and when they should travel, meaning that motorists in different council areas face different limitations on how and when they should use their car.

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The country has not returned to a full lockdown like that imposed in England but drivers in some areas are facing stricter restrictions on their movements.

Where can I drive?

How and where you can travel is determined by the tier applied to where you live and work.

In all but the most tightly restricted areas people can continue to drive to work and education and for leisure purposes. However, there are still guidelines on limiting the journeys you take and the reasons for them.

In Tier 0-2, you can drive as normal within the area but are advised to minimise unnecessary travel between areas in different levels and must avoid all non-essential travel to places in levels 3 or 4.

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If you live in a Tier 3 region you can drive within the area but must avoid any non-essential travel out of the area.

Motorists in Tier 4 areas are also not permitted to drive outwith the area unless it is for essential purposes. You should also keep any journeys within the area to an absolute minimum.

From Friday, November 20, travel restrictions in Scotland will become law, meaning driving into and out of Tier 3 and 4 areas for non-essential reasons will be illegal and punishable with a fine.

There are exemptions for driving into and out of level 3 and 4 areas for essential journeys where you cannot access a service These include but aren’t limited to:

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Travelling for work if you can’t work from homeTravelling for education, childcare or healthcare purposes for yourself or to care for othersTravelling for essential shoppingTravelling for local exerciseTravelling for “life events” such a weddings and funeralsMoving houseTravelling to avoid injury, illness or to escape a risk of harm

A full list of exceptions can be found here

People in Scotland are are also being told not to drive to England or other parts of the UK for anything other than essential purposes.

You can still drive for work or education in all tiers (Photo: Shutterstock)

Travelling for exercise

As during the previous lockdown, people are being encouraged to stay local for their exercise. However, the restrictions do allow for you to drive somewhere further afield if you don’t have a suitable space nearby. If you need to travel into or out of Tier 4 for exercise you should limit your drive to five miles.

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Car sharing

Scottish Government advice on car sharing hasn’t changed with the introduction of the new tiers.

The guidance remains that you should avoid sharing a vehicle with people from outwith your household/social bubble unless it is absolutely necessary.

If you must share a car with someone from outwith your household you should try to limit it to the same people every time, sit as far apart as possible, wear face coverings and ensure touchpoints on the vehicle, such as door handles and seat belts are cleaned before and after every trip.

A version of this article first appeared on our sister site The Scotsman