Fleet News

RAC predicts Good Friday peak for Easter holiday traffic


The Easter weekend will see 19 million leisure trips by car, with Good Friday accounting for 4.45m individual journeys.

A study of drivers’ plans conducted by the RAC indicates that after Good Friday, Maundy Thursday (March 29) and this coming Saturday (March 31) are each expected to see 3.18m individual trips.

It is Thursday that is likely to see the largest overall number of vehicles on the road however, as cars carrying families and friends vie for space with commuter traffic. In total, between this Thursday and Easter Monday, the RAC anticipates some 18.76m separate leisure journeys by car.

Highways England says it is working around the clock to remove 300 miles of roadworks - meaning 99% of motorways and major A roads will be roadworks-free in time for Easter.

Meanwhile, the Met Office is reporting that snow showers over some higher ground are possible from Wednesday onwards with much colder air knocking on the door of the UK by the end of the week.

Almost everywhere meanwhile will see a combination of rain and strong winds, making driving conditions less than ideal.

The RAC is therefore advising motorists check their car is ready to avoid an unnecessary breakdown.

RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: “While Easter is a little earlier this year than last, our research suggests drivers are just as keen as ever to get away and make the most of the long weekend.

“In fact, between Thursday and bank holiday Monday our data indicates around a million more confirmed leisure journeys by car than in 2017.”

The RAC is recommending motorists keep abreast of the weather forecast through this week to help them organise their trips, especially if they are planning on driving any great distance.

“If you are planning a longer trip, we strongly recommend you ensure your car is up the job before you set out. Spending just a few minutes checking things like the condition of your vehicle’s tyres, its oil and screenwash levels and of course ensuring you have enough fuel for your journey, could make the difference between a trouble-free journey and an undesirable breakdown at the roadside.”

If conditions turn wintry, it is also advisable to be prepared by taking extra warm clothing, a blanket and a hot flask of drink – and make sure your mobile phone is fully charged so you can reach help if you need it.

Matt Dyer, managing director of LeasePlan UK, said: “Whether you’re a business motorist or general driver, planning for longer journeys should begin by being as safe and economical as possible.

“Knowing how long you are likely to be travelling, when you need to take breaks and by mapping out the most economical route from A to B, will all help to reduce stress and the potential mechanical issues.

“The greatest security when driving comes from the knowledge that your vehicle has been checked and roadworthy.”

Easter weekend – planned total leisure journeys by car

Maundy Thursday 29th March

3.18 million

Good Friday 30th March

4.45 million

Saturday 31st March

3.18 million

Easter Sunday 1st April

2.86 million

Bank Holiday Monday 2nd April

1.91 million

On one of the above days, but no specific date set yet

3.18 million

Easter weekend – expected peak travel times 

Maundy Thursday 29th March

Before 4pm or after 7pm

Good Friday 30th March

Before 10am and after 4pm

Saturday 31st March

Before 10am and after 4pm

Easter Sunday 1st April

Before 10am and after 4pm

Bank Holiday Monday 2nd April

Before 12pm and after 4pm

Likely Easter 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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