Warning of traffic jams over bank holiday
This bank holiday weekend could see an estimated 10.8 million trips taken by cars, bringing the risk of jams – particularly if the weather is nice.
Research by the RAC has found that drivers have firm plans to take around 7.2 million trips to see friends and family between Friday and bank holiday Monday – with Saturday and the bank holiday itself busiest at two million separate journeys each day.
But an extra 3.6 million journeys are due to be taken at some point over the weekend by motorists who have not yet decided on which days they will be on the roads. This suggests the weather is set to play a pivotal role in deciding just how much traffic congestion there is.
On the plus side, 98% of Highways England roads – motorways and major A-roads – will be free of roadworks over the bank holiday to provide extra capacity. A total of 899 carriageway miles of roadworks will be completed (775) or suspended (124) ahead of the holiday.
The RAC research also found that just 11% of drivers aren’t planning a getaway trip due to Covid; this is the lowest proportion seen by the RAC this year and compares to 18% over the early May bank holiday and 25% over Easter. As such, it shows the reduction in Covid cases is increasing motorists’ confidence to drive longer distances to see friends and family.
RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous said: “With Covid restrictions gradually lifting and some better weather on the horizon at last, we’re anticipating large numbers of drivers to be venturing out and about over the bank holiday weekend. The fact only one in 10 said they weren’t planning a trip because of the virus, down from a quarter over Easter, shows people now have more confidence to drive to see friends and family safely.
“Our research points to Saturday and Monday being the busiest days, but in reality, there’s a good chance the weather will have the final say as to how busy the roads get. A return to more typical late May temperatures and an end to the recent wind and rain could spark a sudden surge in journeys and mean some routes – especially those to the coasts and hills – start to clog up.”
Highways England advises that drivers should plan ahead this weekend and aim to travel at quieter times if at all possible, which are likely to be the afternoon and evening of today, Friday 28 May, and mid-morning to mid-afternoon on the remaining days of the bank holiday.