More than 15 million motors are expected to be making a bank holiday getaway this weekend – that’s a million more than last year’s spring bank holiday.
The figures come from the RAC, who are warning that Saturday will be one of the busiest days this year, with 4.5 million cars likely to be hitting the road.
RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: “It looks as though a late spring getaway is a little more appealing to motorists this year than last – with the reasonably settled weather perhaps being one factor that is contributing to the desire by many to escape in the car.
“The good news for motorists is that family car trips will be much cheaper this May than in recent years. Filling a petrol Ford Focus will cost on average about £60 this year, about £4 less than last year and a whopping £11.50 less than in 2014 – hopefully leaving a little more in the wallet.”
Scorching weather isn’t predicted for the weekend, but that isn’t likely to dampen the enthusiasm of motorists hitting the road.
Dennis added: “We recommend drivers plan and their trips carefully and try to avoid the busiest times at all possible – Friday evening is likely to be especially hectic on major routes, as is Saturday from late morning to mid-afternoon.
“As well as packing the car, make sure it is prepared well too. It can really pay to do some simple checks on your car before you set out, especially if you are planning on covering any great distance. So check oil, coolant and washer fluid levels and ensure all tyres have plenty of tread, something that is especially important if you’re planning on towing a trailer or caravan.”
How to avoid chaos over the bank holiday weekend
Halfords has issued a list of top tips for avoiding motorway mayhem over the weekend.
The firm’s motoring expert Paul Tomlinson said: “When it comes to basic checks and generally being prepared, our research has shown a quarter of Britons get their cars checked every four months or less and roughly one in five don’t understand any of the icons on their dashboard.
Although these types of checks are fairly simple, it is important that these are actually carried out more frequently as it really helps to avoid hassle on road trips, which becomes especially tricky when we’re expecting delays or jams.
- Set off at an unusual hour: Delays are cited as the number one reason for stressful journeys (63%). Timing is everything: Think carefully about the time you are travelling –leave earlier or later than planned to avoid the masses and for added peace of mind, listen to traffic reports before you head out
- Plan your route: You might also think carefully about using your sat-nav. According to research by Halfords, over half of car owners use a sat-nav in the car, and figures from the Department for Transport suggest that about half of drivers will be relying on a navigation device to plot their route, with many using traffic information data that can spot the queues ahead and divert drivers around them, so make sure you are making best use of your device. 58% of us say less congestion and 37% faster journey times would make journeys less stressful
- Travel with peace of mind: Less than 1 in 5 of us currently use a dash cam, but for those who do, the majority feel safer when they drive knowing they have one. If a traffic accident occurs, dash cams can help you prove who’s responsible and you can travel with full peace of mind knowing that you’re covered when it comes to any unexpected moments
- Don’t be a stranger: 37% of us say that travelling with a companion would make car journeys more enjoyable. Rather than sitting in silence, make the journey to your destination valuable time to catch up with family and friends – it’s the ideal time to chat, play games and relax together
- Take the scenic route: 32% of us say car journeys are more memorable with scenic views. Take the time to plan your route so that you are passing through more picturesque places. Perhaps use the journey to stop off at and explore interesting locations you’ve never visited before
- Keep entertained: 21% of us say they would not embark on a car trip without a tablet. Make sure you have your favourite gadgets with you to keep you entertained – with hours of films and games downloaded, these are also ideal for keeping the kids happy
- Don’t forget the upholstery cleaner: Summer wouldn’t feel complete without ice cream being thrown into the mix. However, most of us would probably prefer to avoid it becoming a part of the upholstery, so make sure you carry some fabric cleaner. Not forgetting the wet wipes needed for those sticky little fingers responsible for 99 flake implosions