‘Autumn rush’ expected to hit our roads this half-term

A busy road with autumnal background

Planning to take a road trip this month?

It seems you’re not alone, as the arrival of half-term this Friday (22nd October) in many parts of England and Wales is expected to make our roads very busy in the next few days. 

Millions of drivers plan half-term holidays

Some 19.4 million separate leisure trips by car will take place between Friday and Sunday, the RAC predicts.

A survey of 1,400 drivers suggests Saturday will be the most popular day with drivers planning 5.6m ‘getaway’ journeys, followed by Sunday (4.6 million) and Friday (4.3 million). An additional 4.9 trips are planned across one the three days.

The data shows the Coronavirus pandemic isn’t putting drivers off making leisure trips as much as it did earlier in the year. Just 6% of respondents cited the pandemic as the reason for not going away this half-term, compared to 10% who said this about the August bank holiday weekend and 18% about the May Day bank holiday.

RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Summer might be long gone but these figures suggest there might still be something of an autumn rush on the roads in the coming days as millions of drivers look to get away for the half-term holidays.

“That could well spark a jump in the number of breakdowns and, while many of these can’t be foreseen, a good number could be avoided if drivers spent just a little time looking after their cars before setting out.”

Mr Dennis said the key to a smooth journey is checking that oil, coolant and screen wash levels are all where they should be, and making sure tyres are in good condition, have plenty of tread and are properly inflated.

He added: “Not checking these things increases the risk of a breakdown significantly, which is the last thing drivers want as they head away for a well-earned rest.”

Where are motorists headed?

Of those planning a trip in late October, most (72%) will travel no more than 200 miles from home, while a fifth (22%), plan to go further than they typically would during this time of year, separate RAC research suggests.

Devon and Yorkshire are the most popular locations to visit (8% each), followed by Norfolk or Suffolk (7%), Dorset (6%), Blackpool and the Lancashire coast (6%) and Cornwall (5%). However, nearly one in 10 (9%) who hope to go on a getaway haven’t decided where just yet. 

Looking to get away this half-term but want to save on cost? See our helpful guide on Planning a road trip on a budget.

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