Coronavirus UK: Car journeys drop by 80% on Easter Sunday

Car journeys plunge by 80% on Easter Sunday while police force reports lowest traffic levels since the 1950s with Britons staying off the roads during lockdown

  • Daily car trips during lockdown plunged to their lowest yet on Easter Sunday 
  • Analysis from AA also showed 60 percent less weekday trips amid the lockdown
  • Journeys increased by 10 percent last Thursday due to pre-Easter food shopping 
  • More cyclists in North Yorkshire reduced traffic to levels not seen since 1950s 
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Car journeys plunged by 80 percent on Easter Sunday while a police force reported the lowest traffic levels since the 1950s as Britons stay off the roads amid the coronavirus crisis. 

Towards the end of the Bank Holiday weekend daily car trips dropped to their lowest level yet during the lockdown, with Easter Monday travel barely adding another 10 percent, according to a review conducted by AA of more than 15,000 journeys.  

The data, gathered from AA Smart Breakdown devices, shows 60 percent less weekday journeys, falling another 10 percent on Saturdays and then plunging even further by 80 percent on Sundays.

On Easter Sunday daily car trips dropped to their lowest level yet during the lockdown with Easter Monday travel barely adding another 10 percent (file photo)

The Easter period saw a 10 percent increase in journeys on Thursday, then staying at around two fifths of the pre-lockdown period. 

Despite the sunny weekend, it is thought pre-Easter food shopping likely accounted for most of the elevated levels.

Meanwhile police in Craven, North Yorkshire, said cyclists taking to the roads for daily exercise has reduced traffic to levels not seen since the 1950s, according to Craven Herald. 

Edmund King, the AA’s president, said: ‘For the most part, families and car drivers respected the lockdown and didn’t revert to the usual Easter exodus, travelling to see friends or out into the country for exercise.

‘Empty motorways were testament to car owners heeding government advice and not taking a holiday from the lockdown.

‘Overall, we expected some increase in car journeys after the initial collapse as essential workers and volunteers took to the road again. 

‘However, the AA thinks that measures, such as police clamping down on cars parked at beauty spots away from where people live, may keep car journeys at their current low level for a while yet.’

He added: ‘Police have also said that although the roads are quieter, they have seen some excessive speeding. There is no excuse for speeding even if the roads and motorways are almost empty. 

‘Speeding has led to several crashes over the last few days which ties up the resources of the emergency services, the NHS and potentially takes up precious hospital beds.’