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Leisure traffic to peak at 3.4m this May Day bank holiday

Press release   •   Apr 28, 2017 10:20 BST

Millions of drivers are set to pack up the car and enjoy the May Day bank holiday this year, with a total of more than 10m separate leisure journeys by car set to take place between Friday and the end of Monday.

The majority of car trips – some 3.4m – will take place on May Day itself, according to research of drivers’ plans conducted by RAC Traffic Watch. There is some indication that Friday won’t see as much traffic mayhem as in some previous years with 1.9 million leisure journeys planned, but with the added impact of commuter traffic sharing the roads the RAC is advising drivers to expect some delays on the network.

With the recent cold snap over, families are also set to enjoy some warmer weather over the bank holiday. Current Met Office weather forecasts point to a lot of uncertainty about conditions into the end of the weekend and the May Day bank holiday itself so wall-to-wall sunshine is looking very unlikely.

RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: “With Easter just a fortnight ago, for many people the May Day bank holiday may have come as something of a pleasant surprise. Certainly our figures show that many of us will be packing the car up to enjoy a trip to see friends or family, with the vast majority of leisure journeys expected on Bank Holiday Monday itself – which suggests day trips and drivers returning after a short break will be responsible for much of the traffic.

“We strongly recommend anyone travelling a fair distance gives their car a quick once over before setting out – check your car’s coolant and oil levels, the state of its tyres and make sure you have topped up with washer fluid. All of these things can dramatically cut the chances of a breakdown at the side of the road.

“If you are towing for the first time this year, pay particular attention to the condition of your caravan or trailer’s tyres which may have deteriorated throughout the winter.”

The News and Advice section of the RAC website carries a comprehensive set of tips and advice on preparing cars for long trips, coping with difficult weather conditions and safely towing a caravan. Visit

To help plan a journey, download the free RAC App for iPhone or Android smartphones or visit to use RAC Route Planner, which gives the most up-to-date road information available including incidents and ongoing roadworks.

May Day bank holiday traffic

Expected leisure journeys
on motorways and major A-road
Best times to travel
Friday 28 April 1.9 million journeys Before 4pm and after 8pm
Saturday 29 April 2.5 million journeys Before 10am and after 3pm
Sunday 30 April 2.5 million journeys Before 10am and after 3pm
Monday 1 May 3.4 million journeys Before 12pm and after 6pm
TOTAL 10.3 million journeys

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