Bank holiday traffic: RAC reveals the roads and times to avoid as 17m people plan getaways

The routes and times likely to see the longest queues as traffic predicted to return to pre-pandemic levels

Friday, 27th August 2021, 12:01 am

Drivers planning on heading out this bank holiday weekend are being urged to plan ahead and leave more time for their journeys as Britons plan an additional 16.7 million trips over the coming days.

With good weather forecast for the weekend, the RAC is predicting that traffic volume could return to pre-pandemic levels, bringing the risk of breakdowns, queues and delays on some of the country’s key routes.

Working with traffic data specialists Inrix, the motoring group has identified the roads and times likely to see the heaviest traffic and urged drivers to try to plan their journeys to avoid the hot spots.

Friday is expected to be the busiest day of the holiday weekend, with an estimated 4.3m leisures trips planned and combined with regular commuter traffic. The RAC is warning that traffic levels are likely to hit their peak by 11am, with no let off until around 7pm. Saturday and Monday are predicted to see an extra three million journeys, with 2.6m additonal trips on Sunday.

Roads in England’s South West are expected to bear the brunt of the traffic with an estimated 3.6m trips expected to and from the region between Friday. and Monday. The M5 and A303 are predicted to face the longest delays as holidaymakers, with traffic more than doubling on them at peak times.

RAC breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “It’s been an incredibly busy summer on the UK’s roads with vast numbers of people on the move both for ‘staycation’ holidays and for day trips to the sea and countryside. Our figures suggest this is a trend that will continue, with bumper-to-bumper bank holiday traffic expected, especially on the most popular holiday routes.

“While this weekend will see many people returning from summer holidays in the UK, the fine and settled weather will also be seen as an opportunity by lots of people to jump in their cars for last-minute trips – after all, this is the last bank holiday weekend in England, Wales and Northern Ireland before Christmas.”

Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, added: “Drivers hitting the road for one last getaway before the end of summer should expect long delays on key corridors. Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice is to avoid travelling in the afternoon – leave early in the day or be prepared for some travel times to double.”

Anyone taking to the road is being urged to carry out some simple checks before setting off. To make sure you and your car are properly prepared take a look at our top travel tips.