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Drivers warned over delays as summer getaway begins

Motorway chaos predicted this week: Drivers warned over delays as busiest summer getaway in five years kicks off

  • Experts estimate there’ll be 13.4m leisure trips between Friday and Sunday
  • Many schools will break up for the summer holidays at the end of the week
  • RAC and Inrix predict there’ll be 5.3m families en route for vacations on Friday
  • M1 southbound between junction 16 and 6 is likely to see the longest jams  

Motorists are being warned to expect severe congestion on major routes this week as the busiest summer getaway in five years begins.

Research by the RAC and traffic information supplier Inrix indicates that 13.4 million leisure trips will take place by car between Friday and Sunday as the school holidays kick off.

This is around four million more than the same weekend in 2018 and would represent the largest summer getaway since 2014, according to the analysis.

Holiday-making hold-ups predicted this week: Motorists have been warned of traffic jams as most school terms come to an end by Friday

The worst day of the week for congestion is expected on what the RAC has coined ‘Frantic Friday’ – the day when many school terms end.

Some 5.3 million drivers embarking on day trips or longer breaks will battle for road space with regular commuters.

And as more Britons are expected to switch from trips abroad in favour of staycations, tailbacks aren’t just going to be isolated to airports and Channel crossing areas.

The data suggests that the M1 southbound from Junction 16 at Northampton to Junction 6 at north Watford is likely to see the longest jams, with delays of one-and-a-half hours predicted.

Hold-ups of around an hour are predicted for the M25 anticlockwise from Junction 4 at Bromley to Junction 1 at Swanscombe/Dartford.

The M1 southbound from Junction 16 at Northampton to Junction 6 at north Watford is likely to see the longest jams later this week, says the RAC

The M1 southbound from Junction 16 at Northampton to Junction 6 at north Watford is likely to see the longest jams later this week, says the RAC

WHERE WILL THE BIGGEST TAILBACKS AND JAMS BE THIS WEEK? 
Date Leisure trips by car Major roads likely to be particularly busy between Major roads likely to be less busy between Expected longest delays on major roads (breakdowns or collisions can significantly increase journey times across the road network)
Thursday 18 July 3.7m Between 1.45pm and 6.45pm After 8pm M40 south J14 Leamington to J11 Banbury: 72-minute delay from 2.45pm with an average traffic speed of 13mph
M5 south J4 Birmingham SW to J8 M50 South Wales: 64-minute delay from 6.15pm with an average traffic speed of 16mph
Frantic Friday 19 July 5.3m Between 11am and 6.45pm After 8pm M1 south J16 Northampton to J6 North Watford: 89-minute delay from 7.45am with an average traffic speed of 20mph 
M25 anticlockwise J4 Bromley to J1 Swanscombe/Dartford: 54-minute delay from 2.45pm with an average traffic speed of 7mph
Saturday 20 July 5m Between 11am and 2pm Before 9.30am or after 4.30pm M20 west J7 Maidstone to J3 Gatwick: 19-minute delay from 9.30am with an average traffic speed 18mph
A30 west Pathfinder Village to Whiddon Down: 15-minute delay from 2.45pm with an average traffic speed of 24mph
Sunday 21 July 3.1m Between 1pm and 3pm Before 11am or after 8pm M1 north J12 Flitwick to J16 Daventry: 40-minute delay from 1.30pm with an average traffic speed of 24mph
M25 anticlockwise J4 Bromley to J1 Swanscombe/Dartford: 35-minute delay from 7pm with an average traffic speed of 13mph
Monday 22 July 2.8m Between 11.30am and 6pm After 7pm M6 north J5 Sutton Coldfield to J10a Telford: 37-minute delay from 12.30pm with an average traffic speed of 17mph
M25 anticlockwise J17 Rickmansworth to J12 Basingstoke: 37-minute delay with an average traffic speed of 18mph
Source: RAC   

Significant queues are also forecast on the M40, M5 and M6.

Drivers are advised to travel after 8pm if possible to avoid the worst of the traffic.

RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous urged drivers to carry out basic car checks such as oil, coolant and tyre tread and pressure before embarking on a long trip.

He said: ‘The last thing any family wants is a breakdown spoiling the start of their summer holiday they’ve no doubt been looking forward to for a long time.

‘Traffic jams are pretty much guaranteed and while it’s possible to predict where some of these will be, every summer we see extra delays caused by broken down vehicles blocking lanes, leaving drivers faced with hours of frustration.’

Motorists are being told to expect severe congestion on major routes this week as the busiest summer getaway in five years begins

Motorists are being told to expect severe congestion on major routes this week as the busiest summer getaway in five years begins

Highways England’s head of road safety Richard Leonard added: ‘Breakdowns are still too common. 

‘We’d urge motorists to check their vehicles on a regular basis and this week is really important because we know that many schools break up for summer and people are setting off on holidays and getaways.

‘By doing the correct checks before setting off, motorists can make sure they keep everyone moving which means everyone can reach their destination safely and on time.’

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