Drivers are being urged to plan ahead and avoid some of Britain’s most popular roads this bank holiday as millions of motorists plan a weekend getaway.
With scorching temperatures predicted for many parts of the country and the prospect of a long weekend ahead of them, more than 14 million drivers are expected to take to the roads on leisure trips, prompting warnings of congestion and delays on a series of major routes.
Bank holiday traffic hotspots
- M25 between Gatwick Airport and M1
- M3 south west of London
- M4 west of London and between Cardiff and Swansea
- A23/M23 to Brighton
- A47 Swaffham to Great Yarmouth
- M4/M5 around Bristol
- M5 from Bristol to Taunton
- A303 Stonehenge
- A30 and A38 Exeter to Cornwall
- M55 between Preston and Blackpool
- A14 between the Midlands and the coast
- A66 between M6 and the coast
- M53 between Liverpool and Chester
- A55 North Wales Expressway, Chester to Bangor
Friday is expected to be the worst for traffic jams as the regular commuter traffic is swollen by an estimated 4.5m families looking to make an early getaway.
RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Our research focuses on those leisure trips drivers are planning especially because of the bank holiday – so journeys like day trips with friends and family, or perhaps departing for a short break or half-term holiday.
“Motorists planning on covering any significant distance should try to avoid Friday afternoon and evening and get away early on Saturday or Sunday to miss the worst of the jams.”
Among the roads expected to be worst hit are the M25, the A66, M55 and the M3.
Rod Dennis added: “With the UK’s constrained road space, and with road traffic at an all-time high, it doesn’t take much for congestion to occur so the message is to expect queues on some of the busiest routes, especially if the current weather forecasts become true. The fine weather a lot of us enjoyed over the last bank holiday sparked congestion on some parts of the network and this weekend is likely to be no different.”
As well as being some of the busiest days on the road, research suggests this weekend could be the most dangerous. Analysis of insurance data by Endsleigh Insurance Services found that Friday 26 May last year saw more insurance claims than any other day.
Most dangerous driving locations by 2017 claims
- South East
- South West
- Northern Ireland
- North East
- The South
- East Anglia
- North West
Data from Endsleigh Insurance Services
And the pain doesn’t end there, with the RAC warning that recent sharp rises in the cost of fuel will have an impact on bank holiday plans.
Rod Dennis commented: “Unfortunately, the cost of filling up the car with petrol or diesel is far higher this year compared to 2017 and 2016. It is currently £6 more expensive than last year to fill an average 55-litre family car that runs on unleaded, and nearly £7 more expensive for a similar diesel car. Forecourt prices are continuing to rise, and will do through the bank holiday.”