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Lockdown car journeys hit lowest level yet

Daily car trips on Easter Sunday fell to 20% of the normal level; the biggest fall seen during the lockdown so far.

Daily car trips during the coronavirus lockdown plunged to their lowest yet on Easter Sunday, falling to 20% of the normal level

Analysis by the AA shows that weekday journeys during the epidemic are around 60% lower than usual, with car traffic down another 10% on Saturdays and the same again on Sundays.

While the Easter period saw a 10% increase on the Thursday – likely due to advance food shopping – journeys then held at around two-fifths of the pre-lockdown period, dropping to the lowest level yet on Easter Sunday and barely rising 10% on Easter Monday.

“For the most part, families and car drivers respected the lockdown and didn’t revert to the usual Easter exodus, travelling to see friends or out into the country for exercise,” said Edmund King, the AA’s president.

“Empty motorways were testament to car owners heeding government advice and not taking a holiday from the lockdown.

“Overall, we expected some increase in car journeys after the initial collapse as essential workers and volunteers took to the road again. However, the AA thinks that measures, such as police clamping down on cars parked at beauty spots away from where people live, may keep car journeys at their current low level for a while yet.”

The AA’s figures are being reinforced by data from Waze that also shows the impact of global lockdowns across the world. A two-week sample of data for the period 11-25 February 2020 shows Waze users are driving 60% fewer miles compared to the February daily average.

However, the AA has condemned those drivers using the lockdown as an excuse to break the speed limit; UK police have reported incidents of “excessive” speeding over the weekend.

King continued: “There is no excuse for speeding even if the roads and motorways are almost empty. Speeding has led to several crashes over the last few days which ties up the resources of the emergency services, the NHS and potentially takes up precious hospital beds.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 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.