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Dropped wardrobe on M62 included in festive motorway incidents

Traffic officers dealt with 4,281 incidents between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day– an average of one every three minutes.

Incidents attended by traffic officers included a wardrobe falling from a car on the M62 near Leeds on Christmas Eve, a large pothole caused by flooding on the M62 near Rochdale on Boxing Day, and a lorry fire on the M1 near Newport Pagnell on New Year’s Eve.

Around two in every five incidents (1,721) were caused by vehicles breaking down and just over 1 in 10 (604) were caused by collisions. There were also 78 abandoned vehicles, 55 flooding issues and 21 fires.

Christmas Day was the quietest day with 278 incidents, followed by 392 on New Year’s Day. Wednesday 30 December was the busiest with 591 incidents, followed by 562 on Christmas Eve and 527 on Bank Holiday Monday.

The South East was the busiest region with 1,094 incidents compared to 324 in the East Midlands, making it the quietest region over the 9 days.

Melanie Clarke, director of customer operations at Highways England, said: “Our traffic officers do a fantastic job of keeping the motorways moving 24 hours a day and Christmas was no exception. We dealt with nearly 300 incidents on Christmas Day itself and an average of one incident every three minutes during the nine days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.”

With around 40% of the incidents dealt with by Highways England caused by vehicles breaking down, the agency also encouraged drivers to check real-time traffic information before setting off using its website or download the Highways England app. Live traffic information is also available on Highways England’s Twitter feeds which is listed on its website.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.