Data from RAC Traffic Watch suggests 31 million car journeys will take place over the next few days – with Christmas Eve set to be the most frustrating day on UK roads.
The study, which questioned more than 1,700 motorists about their plans for Christmas, predicts that 4.1 million separate journeys will take place on Christmas Eve alone – as getaway traffic mixes with commuters heading home.
Congestion is set to be worse than ever, thanks to an unusually high amount of road works combined with low fuel prices encouraging people to take the car.
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Around 11 million separate Christmas-related car journeys will take place between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, and this is consistent with previous years – but motorists may benefit from traffic flows that are more evenly spaced out this year, perhaps as a result of schools breaking up a full week before Christmas Day.
“Christmas Eve is set to be the most hectic and it’s a good idea motorists plan ahead for that now. While there are 101 different things to think about before the big day, performing some basic maintenance such as checking oil and coolant levels, and making sure tyres are inflated properly can go a long way towards making the Christmas getaway journey a little smoother.”
It looks unlikely that cold weather could hamper anyone’s Christmas getaway in the UK – but the RAC warns that there could be heavy rain.
Dennis added: “With the unseasonable winter warmth will likely come a lot of rain, especially in northern and western parts of the country so we are advising motorists to keep a close eye on the weather forecast, and heed any warnings issued by the Met Office before they set out.”
People are already taking to social media to complain of bad traffic on the roads. With many schools breaking up a full week before Christmas, many are thought to have already made their journeys in an attempt to avoid the last minute rush.
Christmas shoppers at Kent’s Bluewater shopping centre reportedly queued for up to six hours yesterday evening as large crowds doing last minute shopping led to chaos in the car park.
BLUEWATER: People having to wait up to 3 hours to leave Bluewater due to large number of shoppers. Police informed. pic.twitter.com/uqKvxN59z0
— Kent 999s (@Kent_999s) December 21, 2015