Drivers in England, Wales and Scotland are facing an average of 382 planned motorway closures a month, according to new research from Confused.com.
Alongside this data, further research reveals more than 90% of UK drivers have experienced a maintenance lane closure on the motorway, with drivers naming and shaming the M6 as the worst for closures.
These maintenance projects are having a direct impact on journeys, according to drivers, with over two thirds (67%) having had to find an alternative route due to a diversion. And they have certainly been racking up the mileage.
On average, motorists are being diverted 14 miles out of their way as a result of motorway lane closures, adding an average of 38 minutes to the length of their journeys.
Over a quarter (28%) of drivers who had to find an alternative route say their most recent experience added a lengthy 21 miles or more to their trip and said they have been forced to drive for an extra 45 minutes or longer.
A frustrated 18% say the longest amount of time they have been stuck on the motorway is over two hours, with 5% of these having been stranded in their cars for more than four hours.
Worryingly for motorists, maintenance projects on the motorway appear to be on the rise with the average number of motorway closures a month increasing year-on-year, according to the FOI data.
The average number of closures a month is up 16% since 2014, when motorways in England, Scotland and Wales were seeing around 329 motorway closures a month, compared to 382 this year (2016 to date).
Some perceptive UK drivers are noticing the increase, with 19% saying they think there are more motorway closures this year compared to last year.
For those unlucky drivers caught out by motorway closures, over half (56%) will follow the sign-posted diversions. However, over a third (36%) will use their cunning and knowledge of surrounding roads to outwit the diverted route. Over six in 10 (62%) of technology-savvy drivers say they will sometimes use their satnav or mobile phone satnav to find a faster route.
However, attempts to avoid the disruption does not work out for all drivers. A tardy 11% of drivers have missed a meeting or appointment as a result of closed lanes. Meanwhile, 2% have had their car break down as a result of sitting in traffic on the motorway.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, said, “It’s important for motorways to be maintained for our own safety, but with lane closures regularly adding several miles and hours to drivers’ journeys, it’s understandable why many are left frustrated.
“Ultimately, delays do not only cost drivers valuable time but money too, due to the added cost of fuel from having to find an alternative, and often longer, route.
“Our advice to motorists is to plan ahead. Make sure you check for closures whenever you are about to make a journey that requires motorway driving to ensure you avoid delays.”