An estimated 12.5m leisure journeys will be made by car between Friday and the end of Monday as drivers seek to make the most of the last bank holiday in England and Wales this side of Christmas, new figures from RAC Breakdown indicate.
The RAC expects Friday to be the most popular day for getting away with around 4.3m separate leisure trips planned by drivers eager to make the most of the long weekend, followed by Saturday with 2.3m and Sunday and Monday each with 1.3m.
An estimated additional 3.3m trips will be taken at some point between Friday and the end of Monday, a number that could increase dramatically if there is a further good spell of summery weather.
Transport analytics specialists INRIX recommends drivers set off early in the morning in the hope of missing some of the longest queues.
Focus of the jams on the roads is likely to be on the M25 near London – where INRIX predicts the stretch between Bromley and the Dartford Crossing will see some of the busiest conditions throughout the weekend – and in the south west of England, on the A303 in particular.
The RAC’s research suggests some 3.6m leisure trips by car are planned to Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset alone between Friday and Monday, peaking on Friday with around 2m individual journeys.
INRIX also calls out the M60, between J7 for the A56 (Altrincham) and J18 for the M62, and the M25 clockwise, between J7 for the M23 and J16 for the M40, as roads that are likely to see bank holiday tailbacks.
INRIX transportation analyst Bob Pishue said: “We expect to see an increase in travel times throughout the holiday weekend on major roads in the UK, with Thursday and Friday seeing the largest delays compared to normal.
“Drivers planning to get away are going to find themselves competing with commuters and holiday travellers for road space, so we recommend adjusting travel plans or pack their patience.”
UK roadworks this bank holiday
Around 98 per cent of England’s major A-roads and motorways will be free of roadworks over the weekend after National Highways lifted more than 900 miles of works in time for the bank holiday.
Some roadworks need to be kept in place for safety reasons so drivers are urged to plan their journeys before setting off by visiting www.trafficengland.com.
National Highways head of road safety Jeremy Phillips said: “We know that breaking down can be a very upsetting experience, nobody wants to start off their holiday stranded at the side of the road, next to fast moving traffic.
“That’s why we are reminding drivers to check their vehicles before setting off over the Bank Holiday weekend, particularly the tyres.
“Unsafe tyres put you and others at risk as well increasing your chances of attracting a hefty fine and penalty points.
UK bank holiday weather forecast: Met Office deputy chief meteorologist, Rebekah Sherwin, said: "The bank holiday weekend will see mixed conditions across the UK – although most places will see the sun, it is unlikely to be entirely dry. "Most parts of the south and east may well stay dry and bright for the majority of the weekend, while cloudier and wetter weather is expected at times further north and west, with some more persistent rain possible for parts of Northern Ireland and western Scotland on Sunday or Monday. "For most, it will feel pleasantly warm in the sunshine, but chillier than of late in the evenings and overnight, especially in more rural areas. Looking a few days ahead details are likely to change, so keep an eye on the latest Met Office forecast on our app or social media.”
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