With much of Britain basking in heat this bank holiday weekend, the RAC suggests at least 14m individual leisure trips on major roads will be taken between today and Monday.
American Express calculates Brits will spend about £8.6 Billion on breaks, at home and abroad at an average of £407 per trip.
The RAC research of 2,500 motorists’ plans found that the Friday before the bank holiday 25 May is once again likely to be busiest with leisure and everyday commuter traffic on the road at the same time – on this day some 4.5m getaway trips are likely to be taken, on top of the millions of normal Friday journeys.
Saturday is likely to be the next most hectic with around 3.8m separate leisure journeys, followed by the Sunday and bank holiday Monday itself, each seeing around 2.9m individual trips planned. A further 4.8 million drivers told the RAC that they were planning a trip at some point around or on the bank holiday, but hadn’t decided on any precise dates yet.
The reality may see even more of us take to the roads based on current forecasts from the Met Office. With the exception of some eastern areas, early indications are that the weather will warm up significantly with temperatures widely reaching the mid-20s – albeit with the possibility of some sharp thundery showers that could catch some drivers out.
Unfortunately, the cost of filling up the car with petrol or diesel is far higher this year compared to 2017 and 2016. It is currently £6 more expensive than last year to fill an average 55-litre family car that runs on unleaded, and nearly £7 more expensive for a similar diesel car. Compared to 2016, it is nearly £10 more expensive to fill a petrol-powered car, and £11 more costly to fill an equivalent diesel one. Forecourt prices are continuing to rise, and will do through the bank holiday, largely as a result of climbing oil prices caused by the US abandoning the Iran nuclear deal.
RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said, “Our research focuses on those leisure trips drivers are planning especially because of the bank holiday – so journeys like day trips with friends and family, or perhaps departing for a short break or half-term holiday.
“Motorists planning on covering any significant distance should try to avoid Friday afternoon and evening and get away early on Saturday or Sunday to miss the worst of the jams. But with the UK’s constrained road space, and with road traffic at an all-time high, it doesn’t take much for congestion to occur so the message is to expect queues on some of the busiest routes, especially if the current weather forecasts become true. The fine weather a lot of us enjoyed over the last bank holiday sparked congestion on some parts of the network and this weekend is likely to be no different.
“Sadly though, taking a break by car this year is going to cost a lot more than in the last few years. Motorists have already endured more than three weeks of rising fuel prices at the pumps, and current data suggests they are not about to stop.
The RAC says you should carefully plan your trip to avoid the usual hotspots at certain times, including the M4 across South Wales and A55 over the top of North Wales.