This year, Easter’s annual traffic chaos is arriving early - this weekend, to be precise. So if you really are set on taking to the roads, be aware that you are not alone. An estimated 14 million car journeys will be made between the schools finishing on Friday and Sunday night.
Friday will be the busiest day on the roads, with 5.3 million extra journeys made on top of usual traffic. The busiest time to travel on Friday is between 3pm and 7pm, according to the RAC.
Some nine million leisure journeys will be made on Saturday and Sunday, with roads expected to be busiest between 10am and 3pm on Saturday and 11am and 3pm on Sunday.
To add to the problems, this weekend people’s travel plans may be complicated by the weather, with cold conditions expected across much of the UK and the possibility of some snow over higher ground in the north.
And it doesn’t end there, with the RAC warning the Easter weekend at the end of the school break will bring with it a second wave of ‘carmageddon’.
Choose your travel time carefully
According to the RAC, these are the best times to travel to avoid the worst of the rush:
Friday 5 April: An estimated 5.3m car journeys will be made today. To avoid the worst of the traffic, travel on major roads before 3pm and after 7pm.
Saturday 6 April: An estimated 5m care journey will be made today. The advised travel times to steer clear of the worst traffic on major roads are before 10am and after 3pm
Sunday 7 April: This will be the quietest day of the weekend, with ‘just’ 4.1m car journeys, and for a better chance of avoiding traffic jams on major roads you should travel before 11am or after 3pm.
Drivers are also being advised to check local radio and social media news feeds for the latest traffic updates and warnings of any bad spots, and to plan ahead, hunting out alternative routes that keep them off the main roads wherever possible.
“With the Easter bank holiday falling so late this year we are expecting to see a double wave of getaway traffic - firstly at the end of this week, and then again two weeks later for the four-day weekend,” said RAC traffic spokesperson Rod Dennis.
“We’re hopeful the weather won’t cause drivers too many issues through this coming weekend, but everyone should be ready for some typical short, sharp April showers, with even the possibility of some snow on higher ground in the north.
“This can be a busy time of year for our patrols so we strongly urge motorists to check over their vehicles before they set out. This is particularly important for people driving long distances.
“Spending just a few moments to check oil, coolant, together with tyre tread depth and pressures, can mean the difference between a long but completed journey and one disrupted by an inconvenient, and perhaps preventable, breakdown that ruins the start of a holiday.”
Busy Bank Holiday Roads
Traffic data on anticipated travel over the Easter weekend is expected to be released next week, but those wanting to plan ahead should be aware that, around any holiday period, 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.
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
Roads around all major airports