Bank holiday traffic: 11m extra journeys predicted as drivers warned to expect delays

Easing of travel restrictions and promise of settled weather expected to see jump in number of motorists taking to the roads this weekend

Almost 11 million extra car journeys are expected to be taken this bank holiday weekend, with predictions that the lure of good weather could push that number even higher.

Drivers are being urged to plan ahead and give themselves extra time to complete their journeys with congestion and delay expected along key routes as families look to make the most of the easing of lockdown restrictions and the forecast sunny weather.

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Saturday and Monday are expected to be the busiest days on the road, with an estimated 1.97m extra leisure journeys each day. Around 1.64 million additional trips are also expected on both Friday and Sunday. However, the RAC’s projections also suggest a further 3.6m drivers are planning to head out and about this bank holiday but have not decided when.

Traffic levels are expected to spike on Saturday and Monday

The survey of drivers’ intentions by the motoring organisation found that drivers were increasingly confident to drive longer distances to see friends and family as Covid restrictions ease. Only one in 10 drivers said they weren’t planning leisure trips this weekend due to the pandemic, compared with 18 per cent over the early May bank holiday and 25 per cent over Easter.

RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous said that drivers should check their car before heading off and be prepared for traffic popular routes such as those heading to the countryside or coast to be slower than usual. The DVSA has also warned caravan owners to ensure their vehicles are safe as it steps up roadside checks over the weekend.

He commented: “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 RAC has warned that key routes to the coast and countryside could see delays as people make the most of the forecast settled weather

“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.

“Drivers can help my colleagues and I have a better bank holiday weekend by making sure their vehicles are in good working order, something that’s particularly important for anyone driving longer distances. Taking a few minutes to check tyres and fluid levels before setting out could very easily make the difference between a plain-sailing journey and one beset by a breakdown.”

Drivers are also being urged to try to make journeys at quieter times whenever possible to help ease congestion and lessen the risk of delays. The best times to travel are predicted to be Friday afternoon and evening, and mid-morning or mid-afternoon on the remaining days.