Filling stations could be looking forward to bumper sales over the next fortnight with this Easter likely to be one of the busiest on the roads in recent years, according to the AA and traffic information specialist Trafficmaster.

With mild weather replacing the snow and ice of last year, and the Easter holiday falling late this year, Trafficmaster expects getaway traffic to pick up from this Friday afternoon (11 April) as many take the week before Easter as holiday.

The latest AA-Populus poll of 23,911 AA members revealed that more than half (55%) of respondents may drive over the Easter weekend (19% already plan to drive; and 37% unsure but likely to drive). This could mean around 16 million cars on the roads for a holiday or outing.

The busiest periods for getaway traffic are expected to be this Friday and Saturday (11-12 April) and Maundy Thursday (17 April), which Trafficmaster predicts will be the busiest day on the roads so far this year.

Easter Monday (21 April) is also expected to see heavy homebound traffic from lunchtime onwards, as many schools resume the following day.

The top five busiest stretches of road are expected to be:

• A303 - westbound from M3/J8 through Hampshire, Wiltshire and Somerset;

• M1 - from junction 6A (M25 interchange) to junction 13, and from junction 23A to junction 32 (M18);

• M5 - from junction 15 (Almondsbury) towards junction 31 (Exeter for West Country)

• M6 - through West Midlands (from Junction 4A) and northwards towards Lancashire (junction 21A)

• M25 - all sections, especially both ways around J14/17 (Heathrow Airport and M4, M40 interchanges).