12.6 million journeys planned for first week of summer holidays

Traffic jam on a British motorway

Some motorways will be very congested over the weekend

The summer holidays are almost upon us, and if you’re planning to travel over the first weekend of the break, you’ll want to know when the best time to hit the road is.

3.1 million to hit the road on Saturday alone

Saturday 22nd is expected to be the busiest day on the road as people head off on their holidays, with up to 3.1 million separate car journeys being made. The next busiest day, Sunday 23rd, is expected to see 2.5 million trips.

Friday 21st will see 2.3 million trips made, not including commuters, while Thursday will see the lowest number of people travelling, with only 1.6 million trips being made in an effort to beat the weekend rush. It’s expected that an additional 4.8 million smaller car journeys will be made between Friday and Sunday.

The RAC found that while the number of trips being made has gone down since this time last year, the anticipated number of journeys this weekend is above the pre-pandemic average, suggesting more people are staying in the UK for the summer holiday than previous years.

The RAC is warning drivers to check that their car is in good condition before heading out for their holiday destinations. Longer journeys increase the chances of your car breaking down, especially if it has a problem before your trip even begins.

RAC Breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis says: “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”.

He also encouraged people to do basic checks, like checking your oil and coolant levels before setting off on your journey.

When and where to avoid

Some roads will be busier than others, and certain times of day will see much higher traffic levels than usual. Transport experts INRIX have revealed where the busiest and most congested roads will be, and when the best time to travel is.

On Friday, the M5 heading south between J15 and J23 and M25 anticlockwise between J10 and J6 will be particularly congested, with up to 45-minute delays expected, due to the combination of end-of-week commuter traffic and holidaymakers.

The M25 is also likely to be particularly busy on Thursday, due to many people travelling a day early to avoid the traffic, and on Sunday, on their return journeys.

INRIX has advised drivers to avoid using major roads between late morning and early evening from Thursday to Sunday. The best time to travel on those days is before 8am and after 7pm.

If you want to know how to check your car before a long journey, check out our DIY guide to checking and repairing your car.

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