Drivers are set to take an estimated 16.8m separate leisure trips by car this May Day bank holiday, the highest number since 2016, according to RAC research.
The RAC expects bank holiday Monday to see the largest number of individual leisure journeys – 3.3m – followed by tomorrow (Saturday) with 3m and Sunday with 2.6m.
In addition, drivers are planning on taking an additional 5.6m trips at some point between today and Monday – although 2.3m of these will only be taken if the weather is good.
The impact of high petrol and diesel prices, however, looks certain to have an impact on just how big a ‘May Day getaway’ it will be, with 14 per cent of drivers saying they’re not planning a leisure trip this weekend specifically for this reason.
This is more than twice the proportion of drivers who didn’t drive over Easter for the same reason (6 per cent) and indicates that the cost-of-living crisis may now be starting to have an impact on how people spend their leisure time.
In order to avoid an unnecessary breakdown the RAC is encouraging drivers to check over their vehicles ahead of any trip, especially if they are planning to drive any great distance.
A quick look at oil and coolant levels, together with making sure that tyres are in good condition and are inflated to the correct pressures, can go a long way towards ensuring a trouble-free journey.
RAC traffic spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “Easter might only have been a couple of weeks ago, but it looks as though plenty of drivers are still looking to make the most of this May Day bank holiday.
“We expect routes to classic tourist hotspots – especially the coasts – to clog up on Friday afternoon and through Saturday morning, although according to our research Monday could turn out to be the busiest day of the long weekend.
“Preparation is paramount though to avoid an inconvenient breakdown at the side of the road – it’s a fact that the majority of the jobs our patrols will attend this weekend will be avoidable if drivers spend just a little time checking their vehicles are ‘road-ready’.
“A quick look under the bonnet to check oil and coolant levels, as well as ensuring tyres are properly inflated and are in good condition could save hours of hassle at the side of the road.”
Top tips from RAC patrols on avoiding a breakdown
“Put simply, a well-maintained car is much less likely to break down than one that hasn’t been looked after. So, if you have a big drive coming up and suspect something on your car’s not quite right then get it into a good garage as soon as you can this week.” – Ben Aldous, Manchester-based patrol “Keep your locking wheel nut somewhere you can easily find it as this makes it quicker for us to do a tyre change if needed. Make sure that everything fixed to the outside of your car – bikes, roof boxes – are properly secured. If you’re travelling with a dog, again ensure it’s secure inside and has some food and water. And download and use the free MyRAC mobile app as it makes it much easier for us to find you.” – Kevin Andrews, Bath-based patrol “Check your tyres every time, especially the inside front edges. You can fully lock the steering one way or the other so you can see the condition of your front tyres easily. And whatever you do, don’t start a journey with a known problem!” – Stuart Lurc, Salisbury-based patrol
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