Motorway traffic jam

Forecourts across the UK are gearing up for a busy bank holiday weekend as the RAC and transport expert INRIX are predicting more than 14 million drivers are set to make leisure trips – nearly 2 million more than last year.

Saturday is expected to be the busiest ‘getaway’ day of the weekend on the roads, with the RAC’s research of 2,316 UK drivers showing as many as 3.1 million trips are due to be taken.

Friday is forecast to be the next busiest with 2.8 million trips planned, followed by Sunday with 2.3 million, while the bank holiday Monday is predicted to see 1.9 million. On top of these estimates are another 4.2 million trips which will be made at some point over the course of the three-day weekend by drivers who have yet decide which day to travel on.

While the overall number of getaway trips due to be made over the August bank holiday weekend is 1.8m more than last year when fuel prices were at an all-time high, they are not as high as previous years when petrol and diesel were much cheaper.

The most popular destinations for the bank holiday weekend are: Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, followed by the West Country (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset), then Wales and Scotland jointly.

Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, said: “We expect this bank holiday weekend to be very busy on major roads, with Friday and Saturday seeing the longest delays compared to normal. While the most significant delays over the three days are going to be on the M25 and M1, routes to the West will inevitably be badly affected too.”

RAC breakdown spokesperson Simon Williams said: “With fuel prices much lower than last summer’s record highs, it’s clear from our research that many more drivers are planning to make the most of what the UK has to offer over the last bank holiday of the summer. And if the weather is kind, even more people may decide to take trips swelling numbers on the road further still and possibly adding to the inevitable delays.

Those looking to have uninterrupted journeys should aim to travel very early to beat the jams, or if that’s not possible, much later in the day if they’re planning to be travelling on Friday.

“With breakdown numbers already well exceeding previous years, we’re urging drivers to do all they can to avoid finding themselves broken-down at the side of the road by carrying out a few essential vehicle checks before setting off.

“Simply making sure there’s enough oil and coolant can prevent some very expensive and inconvenient breakdowns. Checking tyres have plenty of tread and are inflated to the right pressures is also vital. Worn tyres are not only dangerous due reduced grip on the road, they are also more susceptible to punctures and blowouts, and under inflated tyres ruin fuel economy and lead to greater wear.”