It could be a case of ‘double bank holiday traffic trouble’ for drivers over the next two weekends with up to 32m separate leisure trips by car planned, according to RAC Breakdown research.*
With millions of people set to enjoy two bank holiday weekends in a row thanks to the King’s Coronation this year, the RAC estimates this coming weekend will be the busiest early May bank holiday since 2016 with around 17.2m individual trips – marginally more than over the same period last year. The Coronation weekend is forecast to be slightly less busy with 14.6m journeys, no doubt explained by people staying at home to watch the event on TV.
The RAC together with transport data experts INRIX expect this Friday and Saturday to see the greatest numbers of drivers taking to the road, and hence the longest delays – with Friday afternoon and early evening likely to see congestion as leisure and end-of-the-week commuter traffic combine. Drivers are planning an estimated 2.3m trips on Friday alone, with Saturday seeing the weekend peak of 2.7m journeys and an extra 7.6m taken at some point over the whole weekend.
INRIX is warning drivers to be aware of the potential for long delays on the M5 southbound between J15 Bristol and J23 Taunton this Friday afternoon, as well as the M6 northbound from J18 Chester to J24 Liverpool around the same time – with queues of at least 30 minutes expected. Drivers are advised to set out before 11am if they possibly can or leave their journeys until later on Friday evening, or early on Saturday if they can, to have a better chance of missing the worst of the jams.
Over the Coronation long weekend, the RAC anticipates an even spread of traffic – around 2m trips each day – with Friday afternoon and Saturday looks likely to see the most congestion.
RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said: “The weather might still be unseasonably chilly but this won’t stop drivers getting out and about over the double bank holiday weekends to make the most of some extra days off.
“While we’d expect more short breaks and day trips to the coast this coming weekend, when it comes to the Coronation it’s likely major routes are less likely to be congested. The big variable, as always, is what happens with the Great British weather. If temperatures finally increase and the sun makes more of an appearance, we could well see many more people jumping in the car for a quick trip.
“In order to avoid any disappointment caused from cars letting their everyone on board down, we urge drivers to check tyres, oil and coolant levels as matters of priority before they hit the road. “While our teams will be working hard throughout both bank holidays, no-one wants to feel royally fed up by being stuck at the side of the road waiting for help. The more checks drivers can carry out before the head out, the more likely they are to feel like the king, or queen, of the road.
Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, said: “Although delays won’t be as severe as Easter, drivers should expect long delays on major roads in and around greater London this weekend. Travel times will likely peak on Friday afternoon with some areas seeing double the travel times as holiday travellers mix with commuters, but drivers should be prepared for added congestion throughout the holiday weekend.”