Driving home for Christmas can be a challenge if you leave it until the last minute. There’s a lot of traffic and the weather isn’t always your friend. Make sure you know what the traffic is going to be like in the run up to Christmas.
Frantic Friday is the last Friday before Christmas Day and is generally when most people make the journey to get wherever they’re spending the Christmas period.
In 2022 INRIX, a transport analytics company, found that over 10 million journeys were made between Friday, 23 December and Christmas Day.
If you do need to be on the road on the last Friday before Christmas, either very early morning or late at night are the ideal times to travel as there are significantly fewer cars on the road at those times.
Darren Miller of Big Motoring World has this to say: “The last Friday before Christmas, also known as ‘Frantic Friday’, is definitely one to avoid for driving. Not only do we see people travelling to visit family, but also the usual commuter traffic and shoppers scrambling to pick up last-minute gifts”.
Big Motoring World advises that the M1 around Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire, the M4 between London and Southwest Wales, and the M6 around Birmingham are all expected to be very busy around Christmas.
You can also expect delays on the M25 around London, the M27 in Hampshire and the M60 around Manchester. And most roads around busy metropolitan areas will see an increase in traffic due to last-minute Christmas shoppers.
Darren Miller says: “For those who prefer to travel on Christmas Eve, last year traffic specialists INRIX recommended that drivers avoid the 12pm-1pm slot, predicting that this would be by far the busiest period of the day. It might be sensible to avoid that slot again this year. Travelling before 10am where possible appears to be the best way to minimise delays in traffic jams.”
To make sure you’re safe when you’re driving over the Christmas period, have a look at our winter car checks.