Europe’s roads ‘a big hit’ with British motorists, poll finds

Europe’s roads ‘a big hit’ with British motorists, poll finds
Europe’s roads are streets ahead of those in the UK thanks to less congestion and fewer potholes, the results of a poll by RAC European Breakdown suggest.

According to the survey of more than 1,000 drivers, almost a fifth (17%) of Brits believe the quality of roads in Europe is superior to that of the UK.

For the majority, it seems the lack of potholes on the continent’s road network helps to provide a better driving experience than back home.

READ MORE: Travel writer Ben Hatch's tales of driving in Europe

Eighty per cent of British drivers said there were fewer potholes in Europe compared to the UK, compared to the 18% who said there was no difference.

European breakdown cover

Wherever you end up on holiday, we’ve got you covered

Congestion was another key factor, with 74% of respondents saying there was less build-up of traffic on the continent than in the UK.

Many drivers also found that their experience at the pumps in Europe chimed with data showing the cost of petrol and diesel there is cheaper than in Britain.

The vast majority - 65% - said they had paid less for a litre of fuel on the forecourts of Europe than they would have had to pay when filling up in the UK.

This is backed up by figures showing that the UK Government charges more duty on diesel than anywhere else in Europe and the fourth highest duty on petrol.

As a result, the Treasury pulled in more than £26 billion last year from charges on fuel duty, which currently stands at 57.95p per litre of fuel, the figures show.

RELATED CONTENT: Driving abroad? Be prepared, take out European Breakdown cover

The RAC’s European Breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said it was clear that Europe is a “big hit with British motorists”, with less traffic and higher quality both significant factors.

He said: “The cheaper price of fuel is also very welcome, and even though we are currently enjoying an extended period of lower prices, the level of tax we pay to the Government always limits how far pump prices can fall when the cost of oil is low. In Europe where fuel duty rates are lower, the price of petrol and diesel is noticeably cheaper.

“But to take advantage of these continental driving benefits motorists need to ensure they are properly prepared with adequate breakdown cover to ensure their trip isn’t spoilt by a something going wrong with their vehicle, as well as being fully up to speed with the rules of the road in the country they are visiting.”

Brits’ relationship with European roads wasn’t all perfect though.

There may be several blind spots in motorists’ knowledge of European rules and regulations, the survey revealed.

Only 30% could correctly identify that the speed limit in built-up areas of France if 50km per hour, while just 23% knew the limit on a rural motorway in good weather is 130km per hour.

In addition, 19% of those questioned did not know it is against the law to use a handheld phone when driving in France, with 59% unaware it is illegal to use a sat-nav with speed camera alerts.

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.