Congestion warning as nearly 18m journeys planned this weekend

Published 26 May 2022
  • Almost 18 million car journeys planned this weekend as schools break for Jubilee half-term.
  • Saturday 28 May 2022 expected to be busiest day with 4.6m trips.
  • Setting off early in the morning or driving at dusk will help beat queues, RAC says. 

Drivers plan to make 17.8 million leisure trips this weekend as schools break for half-term and preparations get underway for the Jubilee bank holiday weekend, according to research from RAC Breakdown.

Based on the travel plans of 1,425 UK drivers, the RAC expects motorways and major A-roads to be busiest on Saturday (28 May) with an estimated 4.6m trips taken, followed by tomorrow (Friday 27 May) and Sunday (29 May), with 4m journeys each day. Drivers expect to take an additional 5.3m at some point between tomorrow and the end of the weekend.

This is despite fuel prices hitting new daily records. 

Where are delays expected? 

Expected -trips -and -traffic -hotspots -this -start -of -half -term -weekend (1)

Data from transport analytics providers INRIX shows the potential for some delays across the country, in particular the M1 southbound between J16 and J6 on Friday evening, the M25 anticlockwise between J17 and J12 on Saturday morning and A720 west between the A1 and the M60 clockwise between J7 and J18 on Sunday afternoon.

RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: “All eyes might be turning to the long Jubilee bank holiday just a week away, but before then we have the start of half-term which will no doubt see major routes to holiday destinations start to clog up.

"Drivers can beat the worst of the queues by planning the time of their trips carefully – an early start is always best or, failing that, driving at dusk if that’s a feasible option."

Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, added: “Even with fuel prices continuing to rise, we still expect travellers to hit the road during the half-term break. Drivers should expect congestion on major roads around big cities and popular destinations. Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”

Broken Down Car

Tips to avoid a breakdown

The RAC is reminding drivers to check over their vehicles before setting out after separate research revealed that less than a fifth (17 per cent) admit to always checking things like oil, coolant and tyres prior to a long journey, with about a quarter (24 per cent) never doing so at all.

Dennis said: “Motorists can cut the chances of becoming a breakdown statistic by completing some quick pre-journey checks – check your oil and coolant levels, the latter is especially important if the weather warms up, ensure your tyres have plenty of tread and are inflated to the correct pressures, and top up your screenwash.

"If you’re making a longer drive, keep yourself alert and everyone in your vehicle comfortable by planning in regular breaks.”

Which roads will be busiest?

Motorways and major A-roads are expected to be busiest. Data from transport analytics providers INRIX shows the potential for delays on the M1 southbound between J16 and J6 on Friday evening (25 May), the M25 anticlockwise between J17 and J12 on Saturday morning (28 May) and A720 west between the A1 and the M60 clockwise between J7 and J18 on Sunday afternoon (29 May).

How can I avoid the queues?

The RAC advises drivers to play the timing of their trips carefully - an early start is always best or, failing that, driving at dusk if that’s a feasible option.

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