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Great British summer holiday getaway


Nearly nine million cars are expected to take to the roads this weekend as the school holidays get underway.

Data from RAC Traffic Watch shows traffic will peak on Saturday 22 July with 3.4m heavily laden vehicles making a dash for it.

Friday will see 2.5m cars vie for road space with commuters, while Sunday will have more leisure drivers with 2.8m vehicles expected to be en route to their holiday destinations or simply making the most of a warm July weekend.

Based on the travel plans of more than 3,100 UK motorists, the RAC predicts there will be as many as 36.5m leisure journeys made over the 17-day period from Friday 21 July to Sunday 6 August.

Traffic jams

“This weekend will bring unwelcome customary chaos to Britain’s major roads as people flock to take advantage of the first week or two of the summer holidays on home soil,” said the RAC’s Rod Dennis.

“While not as busy as Easter which is typically the pinnacle of leisure traffic due to it being the first break for several months, the Great British summer holiday getaway begins with an initial rush for the roads this weekend as that’s when the majority of schools break up.

“Sadly, for many the very much-needed family summer holiday might begin stressfully as long tailbacks are inevitable, particularly in the South West on the M5 which is the main conduit to the beaches of Devon and Cornwall – although for drivers heading into Cornwall the opening of a new stretch of dual carriageway on the A30 west of Temple should give some relief to the queues.

“The best advice is always to try to travel when the vast majority of motorists aren’t – very early in the morning or late in the evening, but for many, of course, this is just not possible, nor practical.

“Family in-car entertainment aside, there’s nothing worse than suffering an unexpected breakdown en route to your holiday destination so carrying out some basic vehicle checks before setting out might just help avoid a bad start to that well-earned summer break.”

2017 summer holiday getaway leisure journeys by car

Friday 21 July 2.5 million journeys
Saturday 22 July 3.4 million journeys
Sunday 23 July 2.8 million journeys
Total 8.7 million journeys

Anticipated worst times to travel on the roads

Friday 21 July Between 1pm and 8pm
Saturday 22 July Between 11am and 4pm
Sunday 23 July Between 11am and 4pm

Anticipated traffic hotspots

  • M5 Almondsbury Interchange and from Bristol to Taunton
  • A30 and A38 Exeter to Cornwall
  • A303 Andover to Ilminster
  • M4 between Cardiff and Swansea
  • M25 between Gatwick and M1
  • A23/M23 to Brighton
  • A34 and M3 south and south west to the south coast
  • A47 Swaffham to Great Yarmouth
  • A11 Thetford to Norwich
  • M55 between Preston and Blackpool
  • A14 between the Midlands and the east coast
  • A590/A591 between the M6 and the Lake District
  • A66 between M6 and the coast
  • M53 between Liverpool and Chester


About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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