Holiday Exodus: Wales and England brace for whopping 12.6m getaway trips this weekend
With schools in Wales and England breaking up for the summer, an estimated 12.6 million getaway trips by car are anticipated this coming weekend, surpassing the pre-pandemic average, according to data from the RAC.
The coming Saturday is predicted to see the largest volume of leisure travellers on the road, with as many as 3.1 million separate trips expected to be taken.
This exceeds the traffic anticipated for the next busiest day, Sunday, which is forecast to see 2.5 million trips.
Up to 2.3 million leisure trips are predicted for Friday, with approximately 1.6 million drivers planning to get away on Thursday to avoid the rush.
An additional 4.8 million journeys are estimated to be taken between Friday and the end of Sunday.
Despite a slight decline in overall trips compared to last year, the total number of anticipated getaway journeys this weekend indicates many families are opting for UK holidays over international travel.
In light of the likelihood of drivers covering longer distances, the RAC warns of an increase in breakdowns and urges drivers to ensure their vehicles are in good condition before setting off.
Traffic intelligence firm INRIX anticipates longer-than-usual delays on key routes, with extra jams of up to 45 minutes expected on popular holiday routes like the M5 and M25.
Late morning to early evening travel between Thursday and Sunday is advised against, with travel before 8 am or after 7 pm being optimal.
Further research from the RAC suggests that the West Country is the most popular UK holiday destination this summer, with Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, or Somerset being the chosen destination for 28% of drivers.
RAC Breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis said:
“There’s no doubting the UK remains an ever-popular holiday destination with millions of drivers expected to take to the roads at the end of this week as schools in England and Wales close for summer.”
“We’re seeing an enormous increase in breakdowns this year as drivers dependent on their vehicles for leisure and work contend with cripplingly high prices, leading to some scrimping on car maintenance as a result. It’s for this reason we’re urging drivers to take action to avoid a summer surge of breakdowns.”
“No driver set off before a long journey without carrying out a few basic checks to ensure their cars have got the right levels of oil and coolant, as well as making sure all tyres have plenty of tread and are properly inflated.”
“Thankfully, this summer is a little cheaper when it comes to one vital expense – fuel. While pump prices aren’t as low as we think they should be given wholesale prices, it remains the case that this July the cost of filling an average family-sized car with petrol is around £25 less than a year ago, and £30 less for a car than runs on diesel.”
Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst at INRIX, warns drivers of above-average delays during this getaway period, urging them to plan ahead and keep informed through local traffic broadcasts.
As per the Met Office, the weather outlook for the weekend is unsettled, with many areas likely to see sunshine and showers, and longer periods of rain possible in western areas on Saturday.
[The photograph of the A494 above shows the three lanes into two configurations past the Sealand Road onlip – recent changes have seen the lanes merge nearer to the former RAF Sealand Camp, which appears to have caused longer queue times.]
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