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More than 20 million cars will hit UK roads over Easter weekend

More than 20 million cars will hit UK roads over Easter weekend

The Easter Bank Holiday weekend will see more than 20 million cars on the UK’s roads, with traffic forecasts for today (13 April, Maundy Thursday) and Easter Monday (17 April) showing a 20% increase in the average number of cars being driven, according to INRIX, the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics.  

With peaks set to reach 28.4% above average traffic levels at 5pm, up 30% on last year, Maundy Thursday will be the busiest getaway day this Easter Bank holiday, with drivers setting off early for the long weekend.  

The worst affected roads on Maundy Thursday will be the major motorways, with some journeys taking as much as three times longer than on an average Thursday evening, according to INRIX. Drivers between junctions 9 and 21 on the M25 (both ways) should expect delays of up to 90 minutes, extending a typical journey from 40 minutes to more than two hours, with the average speed falling to 17 mph.  

Drivers heading in both directions on the M6 and southbound on the M5 towards the West Country on Maundy Thursday should also be prepared for delays of almost an hour and average speeds of less than 25mph.  

Those driving on Maundy Thursday are advised by INRIX against using major roads between 4pm and 6pm to avoid the worst delays; but those that do need to travel during those times should seek alternative routes, as the shortest distance will not always be the fastest.

With major roads expected to experience peaks of 8% above average traffic levels by 1pm on Good Friday, drivers are advised to avoid roads during 10am and 2pm. Major motorway journeys may take twice as longer than usual; particularly on the M25 between J9 and J21 which will see delays of up to 55 minutes around lunchtime extending journey times from 40 minutes to 95 minutes.  

With many shops expected to be closed, Easter Sunday remains the quietest day for cars on the road, with 25% less vehicles expected compared to an average Sunday.  

For those choosing to drive back home on Easter Monday, INRIX advises avoiding travelling between 12pm and 5pm, with journeys expected to take up to twice as long as usual during that period. In particular, the M6 between J22 and J16 Southbound is expected to see delays up to 40 minutes on a route which usually takes 30 minutes on an average Monday afternoon.  

Graham Cookson, chief economist and head of research, INRIX, said: “With UK drivers spending an average of 30 hours in congestion last year, they are no stranger to sitting in traffic.

“We expect significant delays over the Easter period due to a combination of factors, including the regular post-work peak, the start of the school break, people going on holiday, railway engineering works and London Underground closures. Our advice to drivers is to consider alternative routes or avoid peak times altogether. By checking live traffic data drivers can ensure they reach their destinations in good time.”

The RAC identifies the Easter weekend traffic ‘hotspots’ as being:
·         M5 from Bristol to Taunton
·         A303 Stonehenge
·         A30 and A38 Exeter to Cornwall
·         M4 between Cardiff and Swansea
·         M25 between Gatwick and M1
·         A23/M23 to Brighton
·         A47 Swaffham to Great Yarmouth
·         M55 between Preston and Blackpool
·         A14 between Midlands and East Coast
·         A66 between M6 and the coast
·         M53 between Liverpool and Chester
·         A55 North Wales Expressway, Chester to Bangor

Meanwhile, Highways England has announced it is lifting more than 300 miles of roadworks to improve journeys and almost 98% of all motorways and strategic A roads in England will be roadworks-free over the Bank Holiday in a measure to ease disruption.