May Day mayhem: Motorists braced for cold weather and long delays

traffic congestion uk

Drivers taking to the road over the coming weekend can look forward to congestion and delays, with the RAC predicting the busiest May Day bank holiday since 2016.

Predictably, Friday will be the busiest, with 4.4 million leisure road trips planned – a huge 1.5 million MORE than the same day last year. In total, 13.4 million leisure journeys are expected from Friday to Monday, says the breakdown organisation.

But unlike the Easter weekend, when the country experienced unseasonably warm weather, the nation is braced for a cold snap over the May Day bank holiday, with the RAC encouraging drivers to be prepared for lower temperatures and wintry showers.

‘Motoring mayday’


Motorway traffic jam

RAC Breakdown spokesperson, Rod Dennis, said: “Despite it looking like the weather will take an usually cold turn for the start of May – certainly after the recent Easter heatwave – our figures suggest drivers are still keen to make the most of the long weekend, with significantly more saying they are planning a leisure trip by car this year than in recent years.

“However, there is a risk that drivers will suffer their own ‘motoring mayday’ if they are not careful, since the colder nights we’re about to experience could be enough to cause some older car batteries to finally give up the ghost – seriously disrupting plans for a getaway. Luckily, temperatures will rise during the day and it isn’t due to be a wash-out.

“The advice is again to try to use the roads when they are quieter, which primarily means avoiding Friday afternoon and evening if possible, and setting off earlier on Saturday, especially if travelling any great distance.”

Best times to travel

Traffic-free roads

To avoid delays over the May Day bank holiday weekend, the RAC recommends taking to the road at the following times:

  • Friday 3 May (4.4m leisure trips): before 4pm and after 7pm
  • Saturday 4 May (3.4m leisure trips): before 10am and after 3pm
  • Sunday 5 May (2.5m leisure trips): before 10am and after 3pm
  • Monday 6 May (3.1m leisure trips): before 12pm and after 4pm

To avoid congestion, listen to local radio stations for up-to-date traffic information or use a sat-nav with a traffic setting.