Potholes have become something of a joke in the UK, but research has shown that we should be ashamed of the state of our nation's roads. UK drivers who have driven in other European countries say that the road conditions in the UK are appalling by comparison.
UK Drivers Agree
The research was carried out by the RAC, with 72% of drivers in agreement that potholes are a real problem in the UK, but not so much when they drive abroad. Only 8% of drivers thought the UK roads were in a better state than those they experienced in other countries. Not only do UK drivers acknowledge that the roads abroad are in better condition than our own, but they also say that litter on the roadside is a much bigger problem here than it is in other countries. A whopping 62% say that we have a worse problem by far than any other country across the channel. Just 7% disagree with them, and they think that the UK roads are much cleaner than those found on the continent.
Overall, the research focused on 14 different points, comparing road conditions and driving in other countries. It is sad to say that the UK lost in all but one.
It seems that the only aspect of roads and driving that the UK does better than anywhere else in Europe is the signage. 38% of drivers feel that it is easier to understand signs in the UK rather than abroad. It’s a narrow victory as 49% feel that there is actually no difference at all, and they don’t have any problem understanding signs in the UK or the rest of Europe, and 13% feel that actually the rest of Europe offers clearer road signage. It does seem to be a pretty subjective point; we are bought up with road signs that we understand, so it’s a little wonder that we find them fairly simple to navigate.
Motorways and Driving Standards
The research also looked at the issue relating to speeds on motorways, and 32% feel that the rest of Europe has lower (safer) driving speeds on motorways. 53% of those driving abroad feel that the conditions on motorways are the same, with some people driving excessively fast, but at a comparable number to those in the UK. Around half of those surveyed say there is no difference between driving standards in the UK and elsewhere in parts of Europe, but 28% believe that foreign motorists are better drivers than those in the UK; conversely, 21% thought the UK drivers were the better road users.
Of course, there is something to be said for familiarity, and just 4 in 10 of those surveyed thought the experience when driving in Europe was any better than it is at home. 24% did say that they actually prefer driving when they are in Europe, but overall, it looks like aside from the pothole problem, most British drivers are quite happy on their home roads.