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3.6 million motorists to go abroad this summer

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Up to 3.6 million cars will be heading for continental holiday destinations this summer, according to an AA/Populus survey.

Of the 23,911 AA members who responded to the survery, more than one in 10 (11%) said that they intend to take a holiday abroad and drive there from the UK. 

Just 1% of drivers said they were venturing on to mainland continental roads for the first time.

Choice between tunnel and ferry cross-channel options appears to be about equal with 45% saying that Eurotunnel is their preferred way to leave the UK. 

But more than two-thirds (68%) agree that price is the most important factor.  On the other hand, a quarter (25%) think it’s worth paying extra for the experience of travelling by ferry while a third agree it’s more relaxing (34%) and also that it’s ‘an important part of a driving holiday’ (32%).

The AA says that it is seeing a late surge of drivers booking European Breakdown Cover, reflecting a growing interest in driving outside the UK.

Rosie Sanderson, head of AA International Motoring, says that it’s easy to see the attraction of driving outside the UK.  “As might be expected, those from London (12%) and the South East (15%) are most likely to venture over the channel – after all, France is a lot closer for them than many popular UK holiday destinations. 

“They’re also most likely to be fed-up with the clogged M25 and hunger for the empty road.

 “While some motorways in Europe can get frighteningly busy as anyone who has been stuck on the Paris Boulevard Périphérique or Brussels Ring, for example, will know, it’s very easy to find well-maintained roads on which you can seemingly drive for miles with barely another car for company.”

According to statistics published earlier this year, the UK’s roads are the busiest in Europe, with an average traffic density that is 76% higher than the European average

Scottish motorists are least likely to venture out of the UK (6%) followed by those from Northern Ireland (9%).

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