Campaigners have renewed calls for a 50mph limit on rural roads after new research revealed the extent of risk-taking by motorists.
As many as 44% of men have broken the 60mph speed limit on rural roads, the poll by road safety charity Brake and insurance company Direct Line found.
The survey, based on responses from 1,000 UK drivers, showed that, in the past year, 24% of men and 18% of women motorists admitted overtaking when they could not be certain nothing was coming.
A total of 24% of women admitted breaking 60mph rural road speed limits, while 20% of men and 9% of women were involved in an overtaking near-miss or incident while driving in the past year.
Brake senior campaign officer Ellen Booth said: "Overtaking dangerously or driving too fast on rural roads puts yourself and others in grave danger, risking needless deaths and injuries.
"Some people kid themselves they can get away with excessive speeds and dangerous manoeuvres because they know the road. Yet driving on rural roads is highly unpredictable, and the consequences of risk-taking often horrendous."
Brake is pressing the Government and local authorities to lower speed limits on rural roads to 50mph or lower. In 2011, the latest statistics available, six in ten UK road deaths were on rural roads.
Direct Line spokesman Simon Henrick said: "More than three people die on rural roads in the UK each and every day and many of these deaths could be prevented. Our own data suggests that young drivers and their passengers are even more likely to die on this type of road."
RAC technical director David Bizley said: "It's clearly worrying the sheer number of motorists who admit to speeding, particularly on country roads, which are the most dangerous of all. Our own report reveals 37% drivers speed in 50-60mph zones.
"The fact that the number of accidents and fatalities is higher on country roads highlights the need for motorists to apply the highest levels of responsibility when driving both in urban and rural areas."
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