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Busiest May Day bank holiday since 2016 predicted with 13m road trips

Press release   •   May 01, 2019 13:00 BST

Thirteen million leisure trips are expected to be taken by car this coming weekend, the busiest in three years, according to research of drivers’ plans conducted by the RAC.*

Friday is expected to be busiest with around 4.4m separate leisure journeys by car, 1.5m more than the same day last year, followed by Saturday (3.4m, up 900,000 on 2018) and the bank holiday itself (3.1m, up 1.2m on 2018).

Unlike during the last bank holiday just two weeks ago, the weather looks to be considerably cooler with frosts and even some wintry showers expected, meaning a driver risks starting the day with a breakdown before they’ve even set off if their battery is on the blink.

RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Despite it looking like the weather will take an usually cold turn for the start of May – certainly after the recent Easter heatwave – our figures suggest drivers are still keen to make the most of the long weekend, with significantly more saying they are planning a leisure trip by car this year than in recent years.

“However, there is a risk that drivers will suffer their own ‘motoring mayday’ if they are not careful, since the colder nights we’re about to experience could be enough to cause some older car batteries to finally give up the ghost – seriously disrupting plans for a getaway. Luckily, temperatures will rise during the day and it isn’t due to be a wash-out.

“The advice is again to try to use the roads when they are quieter, which primarily means avoiding Friday afternoon and evening if possible, and setting off earlier on Saturday, especially if travelling any great distance.”


Travel this weekend

Date Planned leisure trips by car Suggested best times to travel on major roads
Friday 3 May 4.4m Before 4pm and after 7pm
Saturday 4 May 3.4m Before 10am and after 3pm
Sunday 5 May 2.5m Before 10am and after 3pm
Monday 6 May 3.1m Before 12pm and after 4pm
Total Friday to Monday 13.4m


The RAC website has comprehensive advice to drivers on how to reduce the chances of a vehicle breakdown. 

Notes to Editors

* Figures based on a survey of 1,687 UK drivers’ travel plans for this weekend

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First formed in 1897, the RAC has been looking after the needs of its members for more than 120 years.

Today it has approximately 10m members and is one of the UK’s most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistanceinsurancebuying a used carvehicle inspections and checkslegal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information – the RAC offers a solution for all motoring needs. The RAC is committed to making motoring easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for drivers and road users.

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