Ah, the joys of the open road. A grey ribbon of tarmac snaking its way through unspoilt countryside, leaving you to enjoy every gear-change and blip on the throttle. Bliss.
Sadly, the reality is somewhat different. Ask anyone who has done the school run, or commuted to work at peak time or tried to get to Glastonbury and they’ll tell you that open roads are few and far between. Truth is: you’ve got to drive a long way to escape congestion.
Indeed, as research conducted by Avis reveals, you’ll need to venture to the far corners of Britain to find traffic-free roads. Using official data from the Department for Transport, Avis has been able to pinpoint the quietest A-roads, defined by the lowest amount of vehicles per kilometre, per year.
A897: It’s oh so quiet
It won’t surprise you to learn that the quietest A-road happens to be in Scotland – more specifically the A897 in the Highlands. The 37.1-mile stretch of road makes its way from Helmsdale to Melvich and was formerly the B872.
But before you pack your bags and head north of the border, hoping for an evocative drive through the Highlands, the A897 doesn’t get a particularly good write-up on the SABRE (Society for All British and Irish Road Enthusiasts) website.
It says: “Whilst it is a very important route for the scattered communities that lie along it, tourists would be better advised to look further west for a real taste of the Highlands.”
A481: Be quiet and drive
The A481 in Powys is ranked second – a 9.9-mile stretch that will be familiar to anyone who has visited the Royal Welsh Showground near Builth Wells. As SABRE points out, the road links the town with “nowhere in particular”, which might explain why it’s so quiet.
Unsurprisingly, none of the A-roads on the list are located in the South, South East or West Midlands, but we’re sure locals will know of their own private rat-runs and roads far from the madding crowd.
The list in full:
- A897 – Scotland
- A481 – Wales
- A3079 – South West
- A5091 – North West
- A686 – North East
- A1111 – East Midlands
- A1062 – East Anglia
Avis conducted the research to promote the launch of its new Select Series – a collection of seven cars that give customers peace of mind they’ll get the exact make and model they’ve selected. Cars include the BMW 1-Series, Volvo V60 R-Design Lux Nav, Lexus NX 300h and Hyundai Santa Fe Premium.
Nina Bell of Avis said: “We want to help our customers experience the real joys of driving with limited disruptions and stresses, such as traffic and busy city centre routes. Now with our Select Series range, they can test drive the exact car they want where the distractions are the fantastic and remote landscapes.”
Of course, you don’t need an Avis rental car to experience these roads. An electric car would be more suitable – assuming you have the range required to reach these A-road outposts.
Alternatively, only two new cars meet the standards set by Quiet Mark. One is the Lexus CT200h, the other being the Lexus RX450h. Shhh.