Warning of bumper-to-bumper bank holiday traffic ahead of last summer break

Families looking to make the most of this weekend’s bank holiday are being warned to expect heavy traffic and delays on major routes.

Almost two million more leisure journeys are expected to be taken this year compared with last August as people look to make the most of the time off following months stuck close to home.

The RAC is predicting a total of 18m leisure trips will be taken by car over the bank holiday weekend, leading to “bumper-to-bumper” traffic on key routes.

With many families opting to avoid foreign travel this year and many others trying to make the most of the summer, an RAC survey found more than a quarter of people (28 per cent) were planning to take more day trips this month, with many concentrating their journeys on this bank holiday weekend.

Friday is expected to be the busiest day as commuter and holiday traffic merge (Photo: Shutterstock)

Friday is expected to be the busiest day on the roads as an estimated 5.6m daytrippers and holidaymakers meet commuters. Saturday will see around 4.7m leisure trips, with around 4.4m more travelling on Monday. Sunday is expected to be relatively quiet, with around 3.7m families taking to the road.

Previous RAC research found drivers were planning around 45m day trips throughout August, with many planned for the long weekend.

RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said the latest data confirmed that traffic levels, which had dropped by a much as 80 per cent, are now getting back to normal.

He commented: “It’s been anything but a normal summer for so many reasons, but our research indicates that millions of us are still desperate to eke out the last of the summer and enjoy time away, whether that’s a day trip to see friends or family or a long weekend in a caravan or camping.

“In fact, it may even turn out to be busier on the roads than last year with many more people returning home this weekend after a staycation.

“Both official Government statistics and our own data from insurance customers show that weekend traffic is now back to pre-lockdown levels. The numbers of people breaking down are also around where we would expect them to be for late August. It’s clear therefore that despite the pandemic, the car has been a vital part of making sure many people have been able to enjoy the summer safely.

“Key to getting as much out of the bank holiday weekend as possible will be drivers arriving at their destinations when they plan to. While some queues on popular stretches of road, especially to tourist hotspots, will likely lead to some delays a breakdown has the potential to cause far more problems for people.

“Our teams will be working incredibly hard to rescue drivers who run into trouble, but in so many cases breakdowns can be avoided. A quick check of a car’s ‘vitals’ – tyre pressure and tread, oil and coolant levels – can make the difference between a smooth trip or one blighted by a breakdown. It’s also very important those towing caravans and trailers complete a range of checks, too.”