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Bank holiday traffic warning ahead of predicted good weather

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At least 14 million individual leisure trips on major roads will be taken between Friday and Monday, according to research of drivers’ plans conducted by the RAC suggests.

The research of 2,500 motorists’ plans for the spring bank holiday found that the Friday before the bank holiday (May ) is once again likely to be busiest with leisure and everyday commuter traffic on the road at the same time – on this day some 4.5m getaway trips are likely to be taken, on top of the millions of normal Friday journeys.

Saturday is likely to be the next most hectic with around 3.8m separate leisure journeys, followed by the Sunday and bank holiday Monday itself, each seeing around 2.9m individual trips planned.

A further 4.8m drivers told the RAC that they were planning a trip at some point around or on the bank holiday, but hadn’t decided on any precise dates yet.

The reality may see even more of us take to the roads based on current forecasts from the Met Office. With the exception of some eastern areas, early indications are that the weather will warm up significantly with temperatures widely reaching the mid-20s – albeit with the possibility of some sharp thundery showers that could catch some drivers out.

RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Our research focuses on those leisure trips drivers are planning especially because of the bank holiday – so journeys like day trips with friends and family, or perhaps departing for a short break or half-term holiday.

“Motorists planning on covering any significant distance should try to avoid Friday afternoon and evening and get away early on Saturday or Sunday to miss the worst of the jams. But with the UK’s constrained road space, and with road traffic at an all-time high, it doesn’t take much for congestion to occur so the message is to expect queues on some of the busiest routes, especially if the current weather forecasts become true.

“The fine weather a lot of us enjoyed over the last bank holiday sparked congestion on some parts of the network and this weekend is likely to be no different.

“Sadly though, taking a break by car this year is going to cost a lot more than in the last few years. Motorists have already endured more than three weeks of rising fuel prices at the pumps, and current data suggests they are not about to stop.”


Planned leisure journeys by car

Expected busiest times on the roads

Friday May 25th

4.45 million

4pm to 7pm

Saturday May 26th

3.82 million

10am to 4pm

Sunday May 27th

2.86 million

10am to 4pm

Monday May 28th

2.86 million

12pm to 4pm

Planning a trip between 22nd and 29th May, but no date set yet

4.77 million


Popular bank holiday traffic hotspots

  • M25 between Gatwick Airport and M1
  • M3 south west of London
  • M4 west of London and between Cardiff and Swansea
  • A23/M23 to Brighton
  • A47 Swaffham to Great Yarmouth
  • M4/M5 around Bristol
  • M5 from Bristol to Taunton
  • A303 Stonehenge
  • A30 and A38 Exeter to Cornwall
  • M55 between Preston and Blackpool
  • A14 between the Midlands and the coast
  • A66 between M6 and the coast
  • M53 between Liverpool and Chester
  • A55 North Wales Expressway, Chester to Bangor

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