Driving home for Christmas? With an estimated 143 million car journeys being made over the festive period, it pays to plan your travel in advance to avoid frustrating delays.
Thankfully, the AA has used historical data to identify the roads and crunch times to avoid if you want to beat Santa to the fireplace…
With Christmas Day falling mid-week this year, breakdown services are expecting traffic to be more staggered than usual, with Sunday 22nd and Christmas Day predicted to experience the least congestion.
Thursday 19th and Friday 20th are expected to be the worst days for Christmas drivers – when as many as 17 million vehicles will hit the roads, with Christmas drivers joining daily commuters.
According to the AA, traffic will be heaviest from 4pm on Friday 20th, with major delays expected on the M25, the M5 between Bristol and Weston-Super-Mare and the M6 around Birmingham.
Two-fifths of drivers will make their Christmas journeys on Saturday 21st, combining with last-minute shoppers hoping to get their final presents ticked off.
Here’s a full list of the roads predicted to add at least 25 minutes to your journey when travelling on peak days:
M25 Junction 16-7 (anti-clockwise): +45 minutes
M5 Junction 15/16-29: +30 minutes
M4 Junction 4-10: +35 minutes
M6 Junction 20-21A: +25 minutes
A303, A30 Yarcombe – A338 Cholderton: +45 minutes
M25 Junction 13-24 (anti-clockwise): +1 hour
M1 Junction 11-22: +45 minutes
M4 Junction 23-18: +40 minutes
M60 Junction 18-12: +40 minutes
M20 Junction 1-6: +35 minutes
M60 Junction 9-10 (Manchester Trafford Centre): +30 minutes
B225/A256 and A2 (Bluewater shopping centre): +45 minutes
A4540 (Birmingham Bullring shopping centre): +40 minutes
A562/A5053 (Liverpool ONE shopping centre): +25 minutes
M40 Junction 9 – A34 Abingdon: +30 minutes
M1 Junction 19-12: +30 minutes
M6 Junction 12-23: +30 minutes
M4 Junction 15-19: +40 minutes
M3 Junction 1-4: +35 minutes
M27, M3 Junction 14 – M275 Junction 12: +40 minutes
M1 Junction 29-43: +45 minutes
M25 (all): +30 minutes
M5 Junction 14-25: +35 minutes
M4 Junction 2-12: +45 minutes
M6 Junction 1-10a: +30 minutes
M1 Junction 17-25: +35 minutes
M60 Junction 18-24: +25 minutes
Christmas Day itself is known to be one of the quietest days of the year for travel, with only 11 million cars typically on the road.
It’s also the day with the fewest reported breakdowns. Last year the AA enjoyed a quarter of its usual daily call outs.
AA’s patrol man of the year, Ben Sheridan advises drivers to consider the quietest times to travel before setting off.
He said: “Getting stuck in traffic isn’t part of anyone’s Christmas plans and we hope our hotspot list will help drivers avoid a Christmas getaway nightmare.
“If you can’t avoid travelling on busy routes then try to avoid peak journey times and, if all else fails, make sure you are well prepared for the journey.”
Nervous about the Christmas drive? Save the stress with our helpful guide to driving home for Christmas.