Coronavirus: Traffic at highest level since lockdown began

Published 01 May 2020

The amount of traffic in the UK has reached its highest level since the Covid-19 lockdown was introduced, with the Government pleading with people to stay home and protect the NHS.

Government data shows the number of vehicles being driven on Monday 27 April was 56 per cent lower than in early February (before lockdown), but up by three per cent compared with the same day the week before.

RAC Insurance spokesman Simon Williams said: "Analysis of hundreds of thousands of RAC Insurance black box trips confirms the number of vehicles on the UK’s roads is rising."

"By the second week of the lockdown our data clearly showed the volume of vehicles being driven had fallen by 40 per cent, but by the end of last week, this crept back up again by 10 per cent. The number of separate trips being made by car has also risen since the beginning of April."

Authorities are concerned that the British public have grown tired of the coronavirus lockdown, which was put into place on 23 March and was extended by at least a further three weeks on 16 April. 

The traffic increase was described as "slightly worrying" by Public Health England medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle, who said the country had not emerged from the worst stage of the outbreak.

"There has been an uptick in motor vehicles, and the message here really is that we are still passing through this peak," she said.


Engineer Andy    on 1 May 2020

I suspect this is as much to do with firms working out creative ways to keep staff safe whilst adhereing to social distancing AND re-opening (albeit on a limited basis at first their offices and factories to re-start their businesses in readiness for a more general winding down of the lockdown measures, as it is people getting ants in their pants and going out for a drive.

It could, I suppose, also be people giving their cars an occasional exercise so the battery doesn't go flat, tyres flatspot ot brakes seize up - as long as that's done responsibly, then that's OK.

I'm sure there are some idiots doing some irresponsible things like 'going racing' down the local dual carriageway or around otherwise empty towns (I've seen a fair few out, even right at the start of the lockdown 5+ weeks ago), or complete idiots going hundreds of miles to visit the seaside in good weather.

The return of the rain in May will hopefully 'dampen down' that a bit.

daveyjp    on 4 May 2020

No real surprise considering how many businesses are now back operating.

   on 5 May 2020

can some one tell me how did it spread from china or the bat home in December 2019 jan march 2020. if the Chinese carried it in November how did it get round the world . wear i live some have been in factory .the postman the building site the motorway over the week end lot more cars, i after say this virus kills we are not supper humans but some think they are. i maybe be lucky in Jan i was it in the face by a biting wind. with in hours my head was thumping my nose was dripping like mad the body shutdown week knees arms hollow body was on fire but i was stone cold . bed for over 2 weeks up and down .the coffin started i at to control my breathing to prevent me busting my lungs. i shivered in bed. my doctor told me to keep away from others . i did blame the vape as i had bought the wrong gram.
i told my doctor he just said stay in. i now lots had the same as my.
i could say i was lucky one at my age it kills the older ones faster. i no it b***** boring and b***** hard having to fit for some money . stay safe be wize and you will live longer. if you think 28.000 died but why. i thank the lord for keeping me alive.

gavsmit    on 5 May 2020

Whilst reading this article, the number of cars driving down my road is as if everything has gone back to normal - I can even hear the distant roar of the motorway which is something that has been eerily quiet for weeks now.

On a walk from my house to some local fields at the weekend, there were almost as many cars parked up to admire the views as there were people on foot.

A lot of people are selfish and stupid. The first indication that things are heading 'back to normal' and all thoughts of sacrifice and the greater good go out the window.

   on 5 May 2020

Quote from above:
“It could, I suppose, also be people giving their cars an occasional exercise so the battery doesn't go flat, tyres flatspot ot brakes seize up - as long as that's done responsibly, then that's OK. “

But at what point IS that ok? I’m desperate to give my 17 year old car a 10 mile run for all those reasons.......???

Plodding Along    on 5 May 2020

Going for a drive is still maintaining social distance. No harm at all in keeping your car running. You are highly unlilely to get stopped and if you do just say you've been delivering food to someone who can't get out. Just ue common sense!

Mr Roderick Mee    on 5 May 2020

I do not think driving your car for an 8 mile round trip without getting out or close to anyone else is wrong as so long as you are sealed in your car you can not catch or spread anything and it does the job of recharging your battery and saving a call to the bread down services.

gavsmit    on 5 May 2020

…...unless you break down or have an accident on that trip....which might be more likely if your car has been sat unused for a while!

hissingsid    on 6 May 2020

I live in a village and own two cars, one modern and one classic. I take it in turns to use them for authorised purposes only, i.e. shopping for food and collecting prescription medication from the pharmacy. The classic may look conspicuous on the road, but if challenged it is being used for essential travel. Old cars, like old people, benefit from regular gentle exercise.

I do feel that going out for a pleasant drive, and returning home without ever leaving the car, is perfectly safe and should never have been prohibited. The self styled experts bleat about mental health problems arising from the lockdown but a change of scene, if only from within a car, would be a morale booster and would place no-one at risk.

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