Motorists planning to get away this weekend should prepare for ‘incredibly busy conditions’ as schools break up for the summer holidays.
A survey of 1,000 drivers for the RAC suggests there could be 11.5 million leisure trips by car between Wednesday, July 21 and Sunday, July 25.
Wednesday is expected to be the busiest day for car journeys, with 2.6m expected to happen, followed by 2.3m on Friday. Sunday will be the quietest day, with 1.3m trips.
On Wednesday and Thursday, roads are expected to be busiest in the afternoon and quieten down around 6 to 7pm, though on Friday the traffic will start building up before lunch. On every day, driving in the evenings is likely to be the quietest time.
To give these numbers some context, it is suggested that Friday will bring a 29 per cent increase in delays compared with typical July travel times.
RAC Breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said: “We seem to have all the elements of a perfect storm on the UK’s roads this summer – with millions of drivers having already planned their staycation trips, plus the very real prospect of huge numbers more booking last minute if their foreign travel plans end in tatters because of Covid travel restrictions.
“With the roads likely to be so busy, we’re expecting the numbers of people needing our help to rocket, but it’s not too late to reduce your chances of breaking down. This is why we can’t stress enough how important checking tyres, oil and coolant levels is.”
Unsurprisingly, the M25 is expected to see the biggest delays, but separate research found that the West Country is the most popular destination for a summer staycation, followed by Scotland and Wales.