Fleet News

Motorway journey times to double as Christmas traffic hits

Journeys on some roads will take more than twice as long this Christmas compared to other times of the year, according to data from traffic monitoring firm Inrix.

Inrix, who provide traffic and travel for UK radio stations, as well as data for live sat-nav systems, have compiled the list based on historic data and recent traffic levels.

The busiest days on the roads will be Friday 19th, Tuesday 23rd and Saturday 27th December with the majority of Britain’s 35 million vehicles expected to take to the UK’s roads ahead of the festive season.

Friday 19th will see the worst of the delays, which will peak at around 4pm as Christmas traffic combines with the usual Friday evening peak period. There could be up to 20 million cars on the road throughout Friday afternoon as drivers leave work early or set off to spend the festive season away from home.

Traffic on Tuesday 23rd will peak at around 12pm, and after the normal quieter period of Christmas Day and Boxing Day, traffic will pick up again on Saturday 27th December as drivers head home after spending Christmas away, return to work or go shopping.

The worst affected roads will be major motorways, including the M1, M25 and M6, with a 60-mile section of the M1 northbound extending the normal 60-minute journey time by an extra 1 hour and 25 minutes. The longest delays will be found on the M25 anti-clockwise, where the usual 40-minute trip between junction 23 and junction 10 will take around 2 hours and 20 minutes.

During peak periods, average speeds are predicted to fall to just 14 miles per hour on the M56 eastbound where it joins the M6 outside Manchester (junction 9), and the M5 northbound at junction 3 where it joins the M6 (Halesowen and Birmingham).


Distance (miles)

Expected average speed (mph)

Normal travel time

Expected travel time

M25 anti-clockwise J23 (A1M) to J10 (A3)



0h 40m

2h 20m

M1 northbound J21 (Leicester) to J32 (M18)



1h 00m

2h 25m

M6 northbound J8 (M5) to J19 (Knutsford)



1h 00m

2h 10m

M25 clockwise J7 (Reigate) to J16 (M40)



0h 30m

1h 20m

A4 Westbound (Hyde Park Corner) to M4 (Heathrow)



0h 35m

1h 15m

M4 Westbound M25 (J4B) to Reading (J11)



0h 25m

1h 05m

M56 eastbound J9 (M6) to the M60



0h 15m

0h 55m

A1 northbound (Washington to Seaton Burn in Newcastle)



0h 20m

0h 45m

M1 northbound J5 (Watford) to J10A (Luton Airport)



0h 15m

0h 40m

M5 northbound J3 (A456) to M6



0h 10m

0h 35m

M1 southbound J35a (Stocksbridge) to J32 (M18)



0h 15m

0h 35m

A720 (Edinburgh City By-Pass) Musselburgh to Wester Hailes



0h 15m

0h 35m

Dartford Crossing both directions (M25/A282)



0h 10m

0h 20m

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  • Ross - 19/12/2014 16:00

    One of the biggest problem will be caused by the thoughtless person who gave permission for 14 miles of the M1 from Junct. 16 to 19 to be reduced to 50mph and narrow lanes for barrier replacement. Didn't they think to close off 2 miles and gradually move the roadworks on as they complete the work. More evidence of lack of common sense. And in fact dangerous, as trying to drive an HGV in narrow lanes for 20 mins. Added to the fact that almost everyday this week simple breakdowns have caused chaos because of the contacting company taking to long to recover.

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