As schools in England and Wales break up for summer drivers are set to make an estimated 12.6m getaway trips by car this coming weekend, a figure that exceeds the average annual exodus before the pandemic, data from the RAC suggests.
Saturday is expected to see the largest volume of leisure travellers on the road, with the RAC’s research of 2,249 UK drivers indicating as many as 3.1 million separate trips could be taken – around 600,000 more than the next busiest day, Sunday (2.5 million trips). Friday will see up to 2.3 million leisure trips made by drivers, with around 1.6 million planning to get away ahead of the rush on Thursday. An estimated additional 4.8 million journeys will be taken at some point between Friday and the end of Sunday.
While the overall trips are down compared to last year, the total anticipated number of getaway journeys over the whole weekend, including Friday, is above the pre-pandemic average which suggests many families are holidaying in the UK rather than venturing abroad. And as drivers are likely to be covering longer distances the RAC is concerned this will lead to an inevitable increase in breakdowns, so is warning drivers not to set off without checking their vehicles are up to the job.
Transport data company INRIX is warning of longer-than-normal delays on some key routes, with extra jams of up to 45 minutes expected on Friday on the M5 heading south between J15 near Bristol and J23 for Bridgwater – one of the most important holiday routes in the country – and M25 anticlockwise between J10 for the A3 Kingston and J6 for the A22 East Grinstead. On this day, end-of-the-week commuter traffic will mix with getaway traffic, which explains the expected congestion.
The M25 is also expected to be particularly busy on Thursday anticlockwise between J4 for Bromley and the Dartford Crossing (35 minute delays) and on Sunday clockwise between J23 for A1(M) Hatfield and J28 for A12 Chelmsford (25-minute delays).
INRIX advises drivers to avoid using major roads between late morning and early evening between Thursday and Sunday, with the best times to travel on these days generally being before 8am in the morning or after 7pm.
Separate research by the RAC suggests that July and August will see 26% of the total driving population using their cars to go on holiday in the UK, with the West Country by far the most popular destination with 28% of this group planning on staying in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset or Somerset. The Hampshire, Sussex and Kent coasts are the next most popular (13% of drivers) destinations followed by Scotland (12%) and North Wales (10%).
(File picture – Yay Images)