I-spy Easter traffic

Article date: 6 April 2009

  • But school hols and stay-cations should keep traffic hopping along

RAC is predicting a busy Easter weekend, although with the holiday falling in between many school terms, and the majority of Brits planning to stay at home, motorists should benefit from lighter traffic than some previous Easters.

According to research from RAC, 60% of Brits plan to stay at home this Easter - twice as many as last year. The main factors influencing the return of the "stay-cation" are people having less money coming in (40%), the rising cost of fuel (26%) and the anticipation of bad weather (19%).

RAC can also reveal that:

  • Nearly two-thirds of those that holidayed abroad last year are staying put this year
  • Short distance travel plans are up 33% on 2008
  • Motorists are using cost-free in-car entertainment over expensive gadgets, with 94% of those surveyed relying on I-spy.

Getting around:
Despite the trend for "stay-cations", traffic is likely to be heaviest on Maundy Thursday - getting busier throughout the day - and Good Friday, with a peak between 11am and 3pm as people make their final getaways.

Saturday will also be busy, with an emphasis on local traffic, but it is on Easter Sunday, when the majority of shops are closed, that calm will descend on the roads.

Easter Monday will see lots of day trips as families take advantage of the Bank Holiday and head for attractions. RAC predicts a late start to the traffic, with steady volumes in the afternoon and early evening.

On the Tuesday following Easter, everyone hits the roads again returning to work or from trips away. The mix of returning holiday traffic with the usual commuting rush could lead to heavy and prolonged congestion. RAC recommends motorists try to avoid the peak mid-day rush if possible.

Disruption over the long weekend on many rail networks means the roads could be that extra bit busy. National Rail, Virgin Trains, First Transpennine Express and South West Trains are all reporting disruptions over the Easter break.

Keeping boredom at bay: 
With more people staying close to home or travelling shorter distances it seems traditional car games are having a revival. In research by the RAC, I-spy was chosen by a staggering 94% of motorists as their preferred way to keep their family entertained while driving, taking up an average of 10-30 minutes travel time. Other popular games included the spot the vehicle game (74%) and the number plate name game (41%).

Of the more modern time fillers - music and audio books were the most popular (65%) with games consoles depended on by half of families. Surprisingly though, results showed that almost a fifth of those surveyed don't tend to use any electronic games or gadgets in their car at all.

RAC patrol Crackers Patel, the new ambassador of the year, says: "With more of us staying local and spending time with family and friends this Easter weekend, keeping the family entertained and the associated costs down is going to be top of the agenda. Good planning and preparation can increase the enjoyment of driving at busy times and factors such as the Easter break falling in the middle of the school holidays this year and more people planning to stay closer to home could help reduce the usual manic traffic associated with Easter."

Congestion hotspots:

From London:

  • To the North: M1, A1, A1(M)
  • To the North West: M1, M6, M6Toll
  • To Scotland: As above, plus A74M, M74
  • To Wales and Westcountry: M4 (also for Heathrow) M5
  • To the South West: M3, A303, M5
  • To Gatwick: M23
  • To Stansted: M11

From Birmingham:

  • To London and the South East: M1 or M42/M40
  • To the South Coast: M40/A34
  • To the South West: M42/M5
  • To the North: M42/M1 (also E.Mids Airport)
  • To Scotland and North-West: M6, A74M, M74

From the North West:

  • To London and South East: M6, M6Toll, M1 or M42/M40
  • To the South West: M6, M5
  • To the North East: M62, M1, A1
  • To Scotland: M6, A74M, M74

The top five traffic jam hot spots to avoid over the Easter break are as follows*:

  1. M25 Junctions 31-2 (Dartford river crossing) and Junctions 26 and 27 (Bell Common Tunnel)
  2. The M1 from Junction 25 to Junction 27 (around Nottingham)
  3. The M6 between Junctions 4 and 5, 7 and 10, 16 and 19 and 31 and 32
  4. The M4 in Berkshire around Junction 6 and around Cardiff between Junctions 28 and 30
  5. The M8 through Glasgow between Junctions 8 and 21.

Top tips for travelling over Easter

RAC tips to help motorists make the most of the Easter break:

  1. Plan your route and have an alternative at the ready in case of delays or bad weather. Check local radio stations or the RAC live traffic information on 64644, which has the ability to detect your position from your mobile phone
  2. Allow extra time for your journey, especially if you are heading for a popular resort or you are travelling at peak times
  3. Take something to eat and drink, just incase you get caught in traffic congestion
  4. Make sure you have enough fuel for your journey. When you're driving on motorways, stick to the speed limit. As well as being a safer speed, slowing by 10mph can save up to 40p on fuel for every 10 miles.
  5. Never overload your vehicle or caravan beyond its designed carrying capacity - consult your owners manual for the relevant information.

-ends-

* According to Trafficlink - the UK's biggest traffic and travel news provider www.trafficlink.co.uk/ 

For more information, travel advice or to arrange interviews please contact:

Deborah Hitchcock
Hill & Knowlton
Telephone: 0207 413 3241
Mobile: 07764 759983
E-mail: dhitchcock@hillandknowlton.com

Lucy Haughey
RAC press office 
Telephone: 01603 688891 / 07800 690149

John Franklin
RAC press office
Telephone: 01603 680795 / 07800 692110

Notes to editors:

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists.  Whether it's roadside assistance, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. RAC incorporates RAC Insurance.

RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its members and has been ranked first for customer service by J.D. Power and Associates' UK Roadside Assistance Study for the last three years.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (soon to be Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, with a market share of around 15%. 

RAC is part of Aviva, the world's fifth largest insurance group which operates in 27 countries. 

RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at www.racnews.co.uk/.

  

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