Easter Travel Alert: Over 14 Million Car Journeys Expected as School Break and Holiday Weekend Merge

Steering Clear of Easter Chaos: How to Dodge the Holiday Traffic Snarl

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Easter Travel Alert: Over 14 Million Car Journeys Expected as School Break and Holiday Weekend Merge

As the Easter weekend approaches, coinciding precisely with the commencement of school holidays across the UK, an extraordinary surge in leisure travel is anticipated. Studies conducted by the RAC and INRIX, leaders in transport analytics, forecast an unprecedented 14 million car journeys, setting the stage for potential travel disruptions that could affect countless holiday plans.

The Peak of Congestion: Good Friday Focus

The convergence of holiday leisure with the end-of-term school break is predicted to reach its zenith on Good Friday. A staggering 2.6 million journeys are expected to be undertaken on this day alone, marking a significant increase from the daily estimates surrounding it. Both the preceding Thursday, when many schools adjourn for the break, and Easter Monday are anticipated to witness around 2 million travel movements each, with the weekend days slightly higher at 2.3 million. This surge presents a clear signal for drivers to plan their travels with caution.

Adding to the complexity, a notable portion of drivers (10%) remain undecided on their departure dates within the Easter weekend, potentially introducing an additional 3.3 million journeys spread unpredictably over these dates.

Timing is Everything: Avoiding the Worst Delays

For those aiming to beat the rush, timing could be the crucial factor. Thursday afternoon is expected to see the bulk of congestion, particularly between 2pm and 7pm, as holiday traffic merges with regular commuters. Notably, the M25 is predicted to be a hotspot for delays, especially between the M23 and M1, where travel times could more than double.

Good Friday’s travel scene isn’t looking brighter, with the worst delays forecasted between 11am and 3pm. Early morning departures or late afternoon travels are recommended to navigate around the busiest periods. Key routes such as the M5 southbound and M3 are likely to experience significant slowdowns, doubling the usual travel times.

Expert Advice: Smarter Travel Decisions

Alice Simpson, a spokesperson for RAC Breakdown, cautions against underestimating the potential for “carmageddon” this Easter. Delaying departures or choosing off-peak travel times could dramatically improve journey experiences. Simpson advises, “On every journey, there are key pinch points. Getting through before the rush can save a lot of time, especially over the Easter period.”

Moreover, with a majority of drivers planning leisure journeys on major roads, traditional hotspots like the West Country, the Lake District, and the south coast are expected to be congested, particularly during midday. The unpredictability of travel plans, compounded by potential good weather, suggests even higher traffic volumes than currently anticipated.

Planning for a Smooth Easter Journey

In anticipation of the Easter travel surge, motorists are urged to plan their journeys meticulously. Avoiding peak travel times, considering alternative routes, and staying informed on traffic updates could make a significant difference in navigating what could be one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. The key to a stress-free Easter journey lies in strategic planning and flexibility, ensuring holidaymakers can enjoy their break without the hassle of gridlock.