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Scotland’s North Coast 500 route has been named as one of the best summer driving routes in the whole of Europe.

Psychologist Dr David Holmes looked at elements of the driving experience that are important to the planning of a summer route – including the number of bends and hills, volume of traffic, type of scenery and even the weather – and combined his insight into human behaviour with the findings from TomTom’s study of 14,000 drivers from across Europe. He then developed an ‘Ultimate Summer Drive’ formula:

(((P+T) x (R+SC))/SS+AT+W) x100/21.3333

T = type of road
SS = slope and skew
AT = amount of traffic
P = stopping points
R = remoteness of road
SC = surrounding scenery
W = weather

His USD formula gives a ‘Perfect Drive’ percentage score that can be used to identify the best routes to drive on.

The Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway came out on top, with its blend of spectacular views, quality roads and perfect light conditions throughout the summer making it the Ultimate Driving Experience.The rest of the top five included Estoril Ocean Drive (Portugal), Lake Como (Italy), the Peloponnesus (Greece) and the NC 500.

Key points from the TomTom survey included:

  • Incredible (Instagram ready) views.70% of drivers identified great scenery as key to a holiday drive, but this scenery has to be social media-friendly with 15% of drivers believing that photo-ready views are a deciding factor in the success of a road trip.
  • A great road.For one in four drivers, the road itself is key to a drive’s success, with two-lane roads combined with gentle bends, positive camber change and good forward vision identified as the ultimate road combination.
  • (Near) empty roads.One in five cited a remote road that lets you veer slightly off the main path to discover somewhere new (yet with the occasional, reassuring passing car) as making a drive truly epic.
  • Regular stop off points.Well-spaced, regular pull-off points every 30 miles or so with basic facilities and unexpected views helps drivers stay relaxed and energised.
  • Great weather.Warmth and a light breeze provide the perfect summer driving conditions.

“Holiday driving can combine the thrill of the new and novel with a sense of adventure, unlocking a sense of excitement and freedom,” Dr Holmes commented. “Planning a route using my formula before you embark on your summer adventure will help you make the most of your drive and enhance your overall holiday experience.”