If you’ve ever driven abroad, in western mainland Europe (so let’s say France, Spain, Italy, Belgium etc), you’ll be familiar with that lovely feeling that occurs the moment you drive off the ferry – when whatever car you are driving suddenly seems to be smoother riding, quieter and just more free-flowing across the ground somehow than it had been on the M20.

Well if you’ve ever wondered why, here’s the answer, sort of.

The following is taken from a document about UK roads written by Prodrive, who I’m about to spend some time with finding out why some cars ride and handle well on European roads but badly in the UK, and vice verse, more on which in later blogs…

Here’s a small exert from the Prodrive document:

“”Road surface degradation in continental Europe tends to be dominated by frost damage – which is readily and frequently repaired – or by subsidence, which gives undulations of relatively long wavelengths.

In the UK, frost damage is less frequent but we have an additional problem because the substrate tends to be washed away by the water table [it rains a lot in the UK basically]. This results in much higher frequency, shorter wavelength undulations which ‘excite’ the vehicle suspension at a frequency close to that at which the wheels tend to bounce on their tyres.