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Frantic Friday! Travel chaos expected as 3.8million extra drivers clog roads for last-minute escapes

Drivers have been warned to watch out for major traffic jams this weekend with 3.8million extra cars expected on the roads on Friday.

The M40, M5 and the A303 in the south and south west are expected to be the worst hit by delays of up to an hour and a half, with nine million extra drivers on the roads over the whole weekend.

But delays are set to peak today – known as Frantic Friday – as schools break up and families try to make the most of the summer heatwave.

Roads, ports and airports will be exceptionally busy this weekend as millions of people embark on a summer getaway. 

The Highways England website lists 414 warnings of roadworks that will cause a delay of more than 30 minutes

More than nine million people are expected to take to the roads on leisure trips between Friday and Sunday

More than nine million people are expected to take to the roads on leisure trips between Friday and Sunday

The M40 travelling south from junction 3a to junction 1a is estimated to be the worst affected with up to 90-minute delays.

More than nine million people are expected to embark on getaway trips by car between Friday and Sunday, the RAC said.

The AA urged drivers to carry out maintenance checks on their vehicles and take basic supplies, with temperatures up to 31C (88F) putting extra strain on cooling systems and tyres.

The organisation’s president, Edmund King, said: “If your car breaks down your air conditioning might not work either, so make sure you have plenty of drinking water in the car, especially if you have young or elderly family members with you.”

Transport data firm Inrix warned that some routes, particularly those popular with holidaymakers, will experience lengthy delays compared with a normal Friday.

Those heading south on the M5 between Gloucester and Devon should expect hold-ups of about 75 minutres, while westbound journeys on the A303 between the M3 in Hampshire and A37 in Somerset could take an extra hour.

Some 2.5 million British holidaymakers will head overseas this weekend with Mediterranean hotspots proving popular, travel trade organisation Abta reported.

Spain is the most in demand location while bookings are up for trips to Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Bulgaria and Croatia. 

WHEN ARE THE BEST TIMES TO TRAVEL THIS WEEKEND – AND WHAT WILL BE THE WORST ROADS FOR LONG DELAYS?
DAY LEISURE TRIPS BY CAR WORST TIMES TO TRAVEL ON MAJOR ROADS BEST TIMES TO TRAVEL ON MAJOR ROADS WORST ROADS FOR LONG DELAYS
FRIDAY 3.8million Between 2pm and 5.30pm Between 7pm and 9pm M40 south, J3a to J1a: 1hr 30min delay at lunchtime // M5 south, J12 to J31: 1hr 17min delay late afternoon // M5 north, J31 to J12: 1hr 9min delay mid-afternoon // A303, M3 to A37: 52min delay late afternoon
SATURDAY  3.2million Between 11.30am and 1pm Between 7am and 9am M25 anticlockwise, J23 to J16: 40min delay early afternoon // M1 north, J6 to J23a: 20min delay late afternoon
SUNDAY 2.2million Between 12pm and 1pm Between 7am and 9am M25 anticlockwise, J23 to J16: 30 minute delay at lunchtime // M40 south, J3a to J1a: 20min delay late afternoon             (Source: The RAC/ Inrix)
Getaway traffic will peak on Friday as 3.8 million motorists taking holidays will take to the roads alongside regular commuters

Getaway traffic will peak on Friday as 3.8 million motorists taking holidays will take to the roads alongside regular commuters

Airports in the South East are expecting a busy weekend with over half a million passengers departing from Heathrow, 250,000 from Gatwick, 148,000 from Stansted and 88,000 from Luton.

Elsewhere, there will be 160,000 people flying from Manchester and 67,500 from Birmingham.

Although the Scottish schools are well into their summer holidays, close to 200,000 people will be leaving from

Scottish airports this weekend with 104,000 from Glasgow and 70,000 from Edinburgh.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “Many families will be flying out to guaranteed sunshine and the opportunity to experience and learn from different people and cultures.

“Popular destinations in the UK are also expected to welcome holidaymakers and enjoy the ongoing nice weather.”

What are the RAC’s tips on avoiding (or coping with) traffic jams? 

1) Think carefully about when you’re travelling: Most traffic queues are caused by too many cars on the same roads at the same time. If you can travel outside the peak times – think early in the morning or later in the evening – you can easily miss them.

2) Make sure your car, and anything you are towing, are up to the job:Many summer breakdowns are avoidable – punctures for instance can be caused by a tyre that is in poor condition or just not inflated properly. And ageing batteries can struggle in lots of stop-start traffic – consider replacing it if you have any concerns. And check your air conditioning is cooling properly – if it’s not, it might need re-gassing, an easy job for a good garage.

3) Make sure you and your passengers are as well: Hungry, thirsty or tired passengers are recipes for in-car irritability – and ‘carguments’. So when setting out, pack enough food and water to keep your passengers happy, and plan in enough breaks along the way.  



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