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Bumper bank holiday in store as twice the holiday traffic expected on the roads compared to last year

Press release   •   Aug 23, 2016 11:01 BST

The coming bank holiday weekend looks set to be a bumper one with double the number of cars on the road compared to the late August bank holiday weekend last year. In total more than 20m leisure trips are expected* as many Brits set off to enjoy the last long weekend this side of Christmas.

A study of motorists’ plans by RAC Traffic Watch found Saturday 27th is set to be by far the busiest day with 5 million getaways planned, up an enormous 2.5m on the same day in 2015. Sunday is also set to be hectic with 4.4m leisure journeys taking place, double the number that was anticipated last year. In total, the RAC estimates some 20.7 million cars will be using major roads for leisure trips between Thursday 25th and the end of the long weekend on Monday 29th August.

A combination of the weaker pound, which is boosting the case for a late staycation in the UK, plus a determination by many Brits to make the most of an extra day off work whatever the weather has in store are both likely to be factors that explain the large number of planned journeys this year.

RAC Traffic Watch spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Our study of drivers’ plans for the late August bank holiday certainly suggests a bumper time on the roads as motorists make the most of the last long weekend before the end of the summer by jumping in the car to see friends of family.

“The see-saw weather patterns – warm, dry and sunny one day, cool, wet and windy the next – look set to continue but any doubts about the weather clearly are not playing on motorists’ minds with so many of us planning a late August break.

“Drivers can expect some queues, especially on the busiest routes to the coasts, Lake District and major cities, but by planning ahead and looking at alternative routes they can help alleviate some of the stress that can be associated with long car journeys.

“It can be a good idea to travel outside peak times. This Friday evening, plus through the day during Saturday and Sunday are likely to be the most hectic with bumper-to-bumper queues expected on some parts of the network, so motorists that start their journey early or much later on each day might be rewarded with a much clearer run on the roads.

“And by completing a few simple checks of things like oil, coolant, washer fluid and tyre pressure, drivers can significantly cut the chances of their car letting them down this bank holiday.”

Motorists can plan their best routes on the road network by downloading the free RAC app from the App Store or Google Play, or by browsing the RAC route planner by visiting rac.co.uk/routeplanner. For those yet to make plans, the Best Drives section of RAC Drive (rac.co.uk/drive/travel/best-drives) is a good place for inspiration.

Car journeys by day

Thursday 25 August 3.1 million
Friday 26 August 4.1 million
Saturday 27 August 5 million
Sunday 28 August 4.4 million
Monday 29 August 4.1 million
This bank holiday (Thursday through Monday) compared to the same period in August 2015
2016 20.7 million
2015 10.1 million
Anticipated worst times to travel on the roads
Friday 26 August Between 4pm and 9pm
Saturday 27 August Between 11am and 4pm
Sunday 28 August Between 11am and 4pm
Monday 29 August Between 4pm and 6pm

Notes to Editors

* Data provided to the RAC by Ragdoll Research. Base: 1,579 motorists. All years’ data based on combined volume of getaway traffic between Thursday and Sunday. For 2016, this covers Thursday 25 August to Monday 29 August inclusive. Figures extrapolated to 31.4m licensed cars

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