Drivers are planning 21m festive getaways between today and Christmas Eve with 60% of these trips crammed into the last three days before the 25th, a study of 2,100 drivers by the RAC and INRIX suggests.
With Christmas falling on a Monday this year, figures show leisure traffic levels will climb slowly the previous week before jumping by a whopping 43% from 2.2m on Thursday 21st to 3.2m on Friday 22nd December.
The period covering Friday 22nd and Christmas Eve is expected to see the most leisure journeys by car though – an estimated 13.5m this year, up 20% from the same period last year.
While Christmas Eve getaways match ‘Frantic Friday’ trips at 3.2m, the reality is Friday will be far busier as those heading off for festivities share the roads with commuters and parents collecting children from school.
Roads will also be busy on Christmas Day and Boxing Day with an average of 3.5m trips expected, but serious delays should be less of a risk without the normal mix of commercial, commuter and school traffic.
Here are some tips to help keep your journey running smoothly:
- Plan your journey – give yourself plenty of time
- Check your vehicle – tyre pressure, water levels, windscreen wipers, lights
- Make sure you have plenty of fuel, or a full battery charge – make note of fuel/charge stops on your route
- Bring water, and food, in case you are caught up in traffic
- Using a satellite navigation device can help with re-routing or warnings of congestion on a planned route – bring a car phone charger!
- Keep your distance from other road users
- Consider whether your journey is necessary