Remarkably, that’s a full 5.4 million more planned car trips than in 2015, which has led the motoring organisation to predict ‘traffic overdrive’ between Thursday-Sunday.
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RAC traffic spokesman Simon Williams said: “Our data shows that the 2016 end-of-term rush for the roads is likely to be dramatically worse than last year’s.
“The end of the summer school term is always marked by millions of cars heading for their holiday destinations but this year’s getaway looks like it will be bigger than ever as the volume of traffic builds from 2.4m cars on Thursday to a peak of 4.5m on Saturday.”
Why the spike this year? Be British: blame the weather. “Perhaps the normal numbers who have booked to go away are being boosted by opportunists who are looking to make the most of the coming weekend in the belief that Britain is finally due to have a protracted spell of sunny summer weather.”
School holiday 2016 traffic overdrive: in numbers
The RAC warns that 2.4 million end-of-term summer car journeys will take place on Thursday 21 July, rising to 3.3 million journeys on Friday 22 July.
Saturday and Sunday will be the worst days though, with 4.5 million journeys on Saturday 23 July and 4.2 million journeys on Sunday 24 July – yes, Sunday is predicted to be barely any worse than Saturday.
On the weekend, the worst times to travel will be between 11am and 4pm; on Friday, the traffic peaks will be between 4pm and 9pm.
“If you are one of the 14.4m motorists heading for holiday this weekend from Thursday,” says Williams, “the best advice is to hit the road as early as you can. Avoiding peak travel times is not easy, but it can mean several less hours spent in the car.
“Friday evening is likely to be especially hectic on major routes, as is Saturday from late morning to mid-afternoon”