The poor condition of the UK’s roads is just one reason why over 40 per cent of motorists would rather drive in mainland Europe, new research has revealed.

Venturing into Continental Europe has long been a popular pastime for owners of older vehicles, with companies such as Scenic and Continental Car Tours, various club and banger rally organisers offering a myriad of different options for intrepid drivers.

Now though, it appears a greater number of folk than ever prefer to head overseas, with a survey by RAC Europe showing that more than two-fifths (43 per cent) of people find driving on the Continent less stressful, compared to just 10 per cent who prefer the UK’s roads.

When it comes to the state of the roads, 69 per cent think mainland Europe’s major roads are in better condition, while over half (54 per cent) also think the Continent’s minor roads are better.

The study shows drivers have a number of different reasons for preferring roads on the mainland, with 63 per cent saying that the Continent’s roads benefit from fewer queues. Almost half (46 per cent) prefer motorway service stations on the Continent, while over half (51 per cent) find fuel prices to be lower across Europe than in the UK, although this typically refers to diesel rather than petrol.

The research also shows that over one in five drivers think Europeans are more law-abiding when it comes to speed limits, while 16 per cent of Brits find drivers on the Continent to be friendlier.

RAC Europe spokesperson Rod Dennis said that, considering the poor condition of the UK’s roads, venturing abroad by car seems to be a welcome break for UK motorists. “Our research reveals just how keen many of us are about getting behind the wheel on Continental roads which drivers tell us are quieter and better maintained with friendlier and better-behaved drivers.

“With high levels of frustration over the quality of road surfaces, the sheer volume of traffic and poor driving standards, it is little wonder that Brits appear to be enjoying their motoring experience abroad.”