Drivers are being warned to prepare for ‘Frantic Friday’ as millions of motorists hit the roads for their summer getaway.
Around 5.3 million extra cars are expected to be on the road this Friday, with the M25 and M1 likely to see the longest delays. Overall, drivers are expected to take 13.4 million separate leisure trips between Friday and the end of the weekend.
That’s the highest number in five years and 4 million more than the same period last year, according to the RAC and transportation analytics firm INRIX.
Drivers on the M1 and M25 are likely to be delayed by 90 minutes and 60 minutes respectively, but congestion is also expected on the M40, M20, M6 and M5 motorways, along with the A30 heading through Devon and into Cornwall.
Although Friday and Saturday are likely to be the busiest days on the road, some drivers will attempt an early getaway, with Thursday afternoon seeing a spike in traffic from around lunchtime.
‘Frantic Friday’ and the weekend at a glance
|Date||Leisure trips by car||Peak periods||Quieter periods||Longest delays|
|Thursday 18 July||3.7 million||1.45pm to 6.45pm||After 8pm||M40 south (J14 to J11)
M5 south (J4 to J8)
|‘Frantic Friday’ 19 July||5.3 million||11am to 6.45pm||After 8pm||M1 south (J16 to J6)
M25 anticlockwise (J4 to J11)
|Saturday 20 July||5 million||11am to 2pm||Before 9.30am or after 4.30pm||M20 west (J7 to J3)
A30 west (Pathfinder to Whiddon Down)
|Sunday 21 July||3.1 million||1pm to 3pm||Before 11am or after 8pm||M1 north (J12 to J16)
M25 anticlockwise (J4 to J1)
|Monday 22 July||2.8 million||11.30am to 6pm||After 7pm||M6 north (J5 to J10a)
M25 anticlockwise (J7 to J12)
‘Hours of frustration’
RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous said: “The last thing any family wants is a breakdown spoiling the start of their summer holiday they’ve no doubt been looking forward to for a long time. Traffic jams are pretty much guaranteed from the end of this weekend and while it’s possible to predict where some of these will be, every summer we see extra delays caused by broken-down vehicles blocking lanes, leaving drivers faced with hours of frustration.
“We therefore urge holidaymakers to heed the advice and spend just a few minutes checking the basics like oil, coolant and tyre tread and pressure on their cars before they get packed up. Doing this could make the difference between a smooth and trouble-free journey, and one plagued by the stress and wasted time that comes from being broken-down at the roadside.”
Use the FORCES
Drivers are being advised to use the FORCES to keep moving over the ‘Frantic Friday’ weekend. FORCES is a six-point checklist drivers can use before setting off for a long journey.
Fuel: don’t risk running out of fuel – refill at the beginning of your journey
Oil: check it’s at the right level to reduce the chances of overheating in traffic
Rubber: tyres need to be properly inflated and in good condition
Coolant: this does a vital job in ensuring the engine runs at the right temperature. If it’s not between the ‘min’ and ‘max’ levels, this could be the sign of a problem
Electrics: your wipers will help keep your windscreen clear of bugs, and you’ll need your lights on during any heavy downpours. The electrics also control your indicators and windows, so check there are no problems
Screenwash: helps keep your windscreen clear