Motorists shun driving to see family despite new lockdown rules in England

The majority of motorists in England aren’t planning to drive to see friends and family despite new lockdown rules, according to the RAC.

With new measures allowing groups of up to six family members or friends to meet up outside, it would be expected that many would choose to travel further afield in order to meet others in a socially distanced manner.

But a survey of 1,800 drivers found that more than 65 per cent had no intention of visiting friends or family this weekend. However, there are still likely to be around three million journeys undertaken by car over Saturday and Sunday – with most happening on Saturday.

The survey also highlighted that there’s little appetite for journeys further afield, with the bulk of journeys planned for this weekend set to consist of no more than 30 miles.

Separate data produced by the RAC suggests that traffic levels have steadily increased since the initial lifting of lockdown measures in England on May 13, though they still remain below what would traditionally be expected for this time of year. Vehicle breakdowns are also on the rise, increasing by 45 per cent compared to the week commencing March 23.

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “Despite this week being the first when people in England can legally meet up outdoors in numbers of no more than six, our research indicates people remain very cautious about driving to do so.

“The bulk of those surveyed have no appetite to travel and those that are planning to drive clearly favour making short trips. As a result, this coming weekend doesn’t look like one when a great many family reunions will take place, especially where those groups live a long distance apart.

“Had the summery weather not come to such a sudden end the weekend may well have been far busier on the roads. While Government rules in England might now permit groups of up to six to meet, it’s still the case that time must only be spent outside, with those from different households keeping two metres apart, so the weather looks like being the defining factor.

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