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Millions ‘driving home for Christmas’ urged to plan ahead

18 Dec 2013 at 12:24

More than 13m vehicles are expected to hit the country’s major roads on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day as they make their way to family and friends for the festive break, according to research from the RAC*.

Christmas Eve is estimated to be the busiest day with more than 4.3m vehicles getting away using motorways and major trunk roads. And, on Christmas Day a massive 3.7m vehicles will take to the road network while Boxing Day should see slightly more at 4.1m.

The RAC is advising motorists to plan and prepare thoroughly before setting off on their journeys so as to avoid suffering any of the most common winter vehicle problems. To ensure everyone gets where they need to for their Christmas celebrations even if they break down on the way an extra 10% RAC patrols will be on duty on the roads.

RAC roadside operations manager Matt Dallaway said: “Everyone wants to be with their nearest and dearest at this time of year, and with a few careful preparations before setting off they can be, as these will help avoid many of the most common vehicle problems. Checking oil and coolant levels are two simple things that can make a big difference to a successful journey.

“And by checking wiper blades, screen wash, tyres and lights, motorists will be much better prepared for any wet and windy weather they may encounter. When roads are predicted to be busy, it’s also sensible to check alternative routes and allow ample time for travel.

Services such as the RAC’s Route Planner and mobile traffic app can help with this planning and save vital time once behind the wheel. This now even gives live traffic, roadworks and weather information.

“In addition, motorists may be driving with people who aren’t regular travellers, such as older people and young children so it’s a good idea to factor in regular breaks as well as packing plenty of warm clothes and provisions, just in case there are any unforeseen problems along the way.”

Services provided by the RAC for drivers this Christmas

For motorists planning to travel during the Christmas holidays and winter period, the RAC has a dedicated winter driving advice area on its website, ( It includes advice on driving in heavy rain and high winds as well as a checklist for winter drivers for before they leave home.
You can also find out how busy the roads are by calling the RAC traffic line on 64644 from a mobile phone or 09003 444999 from a landline. Always remember to park safely before using the service, or use a suitable hands-free device.

This provides:

  • Traffic information for any road in Great Britain
  • Traffic information for the local area, with the added benefit of detecting your current position from your mobile phone
  • A five-day weather forecast



If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Sarah Rice: 07944 798380 /
Pete Williams: 07768 811 595 /   

Notes to editors

*Research conducted by ragdoll w/c 06/12/13 with 1,653 respondents; figure extrapolated to 29.1m licensed cars to find 13,0950,00 vehicles on the road Tuesday 24 December, Wednesday 25 December and Thursday 26t December.

Car drivers who said they planned to use motorways or major trunk roads to getaway to see family and friends:

15% - 24/12/13 = 4,365,000
13% - 25/12/13 = 3,783,000
14% - 26/12/13 = 4,074,000

NB: Could not use percentage as based on drivers driving not vehicles/journeys like the figures.

Notes to Editors

About RAC

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