How to Avoid Bank Holiday Traffic

Waiting in a queue of red taillights doesn’t have to be inevitable on a Bank Holiday. You can avoid Bank Holiday traffic by choosing to travel on quieter roads at peak times or the busiest roads at the quietest times, which will also save you time and fuel. Planning alternative routes before you set off, allowing extra time and properly preparing your vehicle for travel can all help you avoid Bank Holiday traffic. And should the worst happen, having breakdown cover will help get you back on the road again as quickly as possible.

Bank Holiday DIY

DIY is a popular way to spend a Bank Holiday weekend. So it’s no wonder roads near IKEA stores are traffic hotspots. Congestion usually peaks around lunchtime on the Saturday – try to make your way there before or after that time, perhaps even Friday evening.

Bank Holiday Shopping

Shopping is another big Bank Holiday activity for Brits. The roads around major shopping centres, such as Lakeside, Birmingham’s Bullring and the Trafford Centre, will be busy. Out-of-town parking and public transport might be a better option than driving right up to the retail outlet.

Busy Bank Holiday Roads

The roads toward Britain’s beaches and major tourist destinations, such as the Lake District, as well as routes to airports, ports, the Channel Tunnel and Eurostar are always busy over Bank Holiday weekends. Roads to avoid if possible include:

  • M4, M5 and A303 towards the west
  • Routes from Northern England to North Wales
  • M56 and A55 in the north-west
  • M6 and A590 around the Lake District
  • M55 to Blackpool
  • A47 between the Midlands and Norfolk
  • M23 towards Brighton
  • A2, M2 and M20 for Dover, Channel Tunnel and Eurostar
  • Road around all major airports.

Bank Holiday Driving Checklist

Traffic jams can be caused by the sheer number of vehicles on the road, accidents or breakdowns. Causing a hold-up because your car has come to a halt doesn’t make you very popular – with people in your vehicle or the vehicles around you. So before you set off, check your breakdown cover is up to date and follow these seven tips:

  • Check all wiper blades for wear or splitting, windscreen washer fluid level and that the washer jets are adjusted correctly
  • Check oil coolant levels
  • Check tyre condition for correct pressures and tread depth – this includes your spare, as well as caravan or trailer wheels
  • Check all lights on your car, inside and out, and anything you might be towing, e.g. a caravan
  • Check you have enough fuel
  • Have a professional check the cooling system
  • Don’t overload your vehicle, trailer or caravan.
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