Experts are warning of a so-called ‘carmageddon’ as an estimated 20.7 million vehicles are expected to hit UK roads this weekend.
Transport information supplier Inrix says that predicted hot weather and the last three-day weekend this side of Christmas means that twice as many cars as usual could be clogging up our motorways.
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That’s backed by the RAC’s Traffic Watch study, which suggests Saturday will be the busiest day – with 5 million getaways planned. Even Brexit could be contributing to the chaos, with more people choosing to holiday in the UK because of the weaker pound.
RAC Traffic Watch spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Our study of drivers’ plans for the late August bank holiday certainly suggests a bumper time on the roads as motorists make the most of the last long weekend before the end of the summer by jumping in the car to see friends or family.
“The see-saw weather patterns – warm, dry and sunny one day, cool, wet and windy the next – look set to continue but any doubts about the weather clearly are not playing on motorists’ minds with so many of us planning a late August break.”
The warnings follow reports from the AA that traffic close to airports could peak in the week ahead of the bank holiday weekend, as holidaymakers attempt to squeeze in a getaway before the end of the school holidays.
Last summer, Inrix recorded around 280 congestion incidents on motorways close to Heathrow during the week before the August bank holiday weekend. That compares to 210 in the first week of the school summer holidays in July.
AA president, Edmund King, said: “We were surprised to see such a surge in traffic problems around airports in the week leading to the August bank holiday, assuming that the holiday season was likely to be tailing off then.
“There is a clear warning to drivers heading to Gatwick or Heathrow for a ‘last hurrah’ summer holiday or a long bank holiday weekend abroad. They need to build extra time into their journeys to the airport and check traffic conditions before they leave. There is nothing worse than sitting in a traffic jam within sight of the airport, watching the minutes until departure tick away.
“Other ‘London’ airports such as Luton have also seen an increase in localised congestion with some desperate passengers leaving their taxis to run the last half-mile to the airport.”
Revealed: the top 10 bank holiday congestion hotspots
These are the hotspots highlighted by Inrix, expected to be the most congestion over the weekend. The time in brackets is the expected delay.
1. M25 between J9 Leatherhead and J21 Winch Hill Wood (90 minutes)
2. M5 southbound from J14 Thornbury and J22 Highbridge (90 minutes)
3. M25 between J4 Orpington and Dartford Tunnel (50 minutes)
4. M27/A31 between Southampton and Ringwood (50 minutes)
5. M4 westbound from London to the West Country (50 minutes)
6. M6 between J19 Knutsford and J22 Warrington (45 minutes)
7. M6 northbound from Keele to Knutsford (40 minutes)
8. A303 westbound from Andover to Amesbury (40 minutes)
9. M5 between J4a Bromsgrove and J7 Worcester (30 minutes)
10. M25 between J29 Codham Hall Wood and the QEII Bridge (30 minutes)