The RAC is predicting that the number of journeys taken this bank holiday weekend will be the highest in four years.
It says data from RAC Traffic Watch suggests 16.5 million leisure journeys will be taken by car the weekend, up a million on last year.
Based on the travel plans of over 2,000 UK motorists, the RAC is predicting a late spring surge on the roads, with leisure traffic on motorways and major A-roads peaking on bank holiday Monday at nearly 5m journeys. Saturday 27 May is also expected to see a significant number of journeys by road – around 4.3m in total – but it may well be Friday 26 that will be most hectic as getaway traffic mixes with normal commuter traffic.
The prospect of some early summer heat for much of the country this weekend is also going to contribute to the queues. The RAC’s research was conducted before the weather looked so promising – meaning if anything the roads could be even busier come Friday.
As the last bank holiday before the end of August, the late May bank holiday weekend is always a busy one on the roads, but this year’s figures indicate that 2017 will be especially hectic with more than 1m additional leisure journeys expected compared to last year, and nearly 2.5m more than in 2015.
RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said, “The late Easter has meant there’s been something of a bank holiday bonanza this year, with up to four days off in the space of just six weeks. But that’s not stopping UK drivers from taking to the road for a leisure trip this coming weekend, especially as the weather at the start of the weekend at least is set to be dry, sunny and very warm for much of the country.
“While we’re expecting leisure journeys to reach a peak on bank holiday Monday – families setting off for a half term trip or taking a day trip to the coast – drivers should be warned that the roads are likely to see significant congestion on Friday 26th May as getaway traffic and everyday commuter traffic combines. We’re expecting it to be bumper-to-bumper from Friday lunchtime onwards on some of the country’s most popular routes.
“We expect the vast majority of roadworks on motorways and major A-roads to be either put on hold or completed in time for the weekend which is good news for drivers but sometimes it only takes a single incident for delays to develop on parts of the road network that are prone to congestion.”
Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist Dan Harris said, “We’re expecting lots of warm and sunny weather for the start of the bank holiday weekend with a chance temperatures may top 30C in places.”