Motorists planning to leave for their Christmas getaway this Friday may want to reconsider, after analysis revealed that it will be the worst day of the Christmas period for traffic.
The analysis of the last time that Christmas Day fell on a Sunday – which happened in 2011 – has led Inrix to predict that 4pm on Friday will be the busiest period on the road.
The traffic information supplier attributed this to a combination of Christmas shoppers, leisure trips and people leaving work, and warned that journeys could take up to four times longer than usual.
Major motorways are expected to be the worst affected, with the average speed in both directions of the M25, between junctions seven and 16, potentially falling to as low as 11mph.
Other major roads will also suffer from Christmas congestion. In the South West, the M5 southbound from junction 14 to junction 21 will be slow-moving, as will both directions on the M6 between junctions 16 and 22 in the North West.
Meanwhile, motorists in South Wales using the M4 in both directions between junctions 24 and 32 are expected to suffer delays.
In an effort to combat Christmas traffic, Highways England has said it will complete or lift 448 miles of roadworks by 6am on December 23.
Inrix traffic analyst Greg Hallsworth said: "There will be significant disruptions on the road due to the regular post-work peak, the start of the school holidays and people heading home for Christmas, as well as the number of delivery vehicles making their drop offs as e-commerce in the UK reaches a record high.
"Drivers taking to the roads this Christmas would be well advised to take alternative routes or avoid driving during peak times altogether."