Millions to make summer getaway this weekend

Millions to make summer getaway this weekend
UK drivers are poised to experience “customary chaos” on the roads this weekend, as the end of the school term opens up a getaway opportunity for millions.

The RAC warns that a stress-free start to the summer seems unlikely for everyone, with “inevitable” long tailbacks on major roads expected, as 8.7 million additional journeys are made over the weekend.

Data from RAC Traffic Watch suggests Saturday July 22 will experience the bulk of the traffic, with parts of the M5 in the South West expected to be particularly hard hit.

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Around 3.4 million vehicles are expected to be involved in the melee between 11am and 4pm on Saturday – the busiest anticipated day of the entire 17-day period spanning Friday July 21 to Saturday August 6.

Gleaned from data of more than 3,100 UK drivers, the RAC estimates around 36.5m leisure journeys will be made in this first fortnight of the traditional holiday season.

Friday will see around 2.5m extra cars share the roads with commuters, while Sunday expects as many as 2.8m making the most of what may be another warm weekend.

Among the anticipated traffic hotspots for the upcoming weekend, the Almondsbury Interchange, and from Bristol to Taunton on the M5 are major concerns – as the gateway to England’s popular beach resorts in Devon and Cornwall.

Likewise, the A30 and A38 between Exeter and Cornwall; A47 (Swaffham to Great Yarmouth); A590/A591 (M6 and the Lake District) and M25 (Gatwick and M1) are among the other key anticipated pinch points.

Earlier in the year it was found that UK drivers spend an average five days a year stuck in traffic, in a TomTom study claiming only China has a worse congestion problem globally.

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RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: “While not as busy as Easter which is typically the pinnacle of leisure traffic due to it being the first break for several months, the Great British summer holiday getaway begins with an initial rush for the roads this weekend as that’s when the majority of schools break up.

“But, unlike any other time of year, the country’s major tourist routes will remain steadily busy through the rest of the six weeks, never more so than at the weekend with traffic toing and froing from major holiday locations.

“The best advice is always to try to travel when the vast majority of motorists aren’t – very early in the morning or late in the evening, but for many, of course, this is just not possible, nor practical. So if you are one vehicle in the 3.4m making a leisure journey on Saturday a healthy dose of patience is going to be required, and keeping everyone in the car happy will be key to that.

“Family in-car entertainment aside, there’s nothing worse than suffering an unexpected breakdown en route to your holiday destination so carrying out some basic vehicle checks before setting out might just help avoid a bad start to that well-earned summer break.”

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.