Article date: 23 August 2007
- Landmarks ease the misery of bank holiday congestion
New research out today reveals most bank holiday adventures start before weekenders reach their destination.
Although the UK's busiest motorways, including the M1, M25 and M6, are predicted to fall victim to miles of tailbacks this bank holiday weekend, research by RAC - as part of National Motorway Month - reveals that they are also home to some of the country's most iconic roadside landmarks. Astoundingly, the often derided Spaghetti Junction tops the list as the UK's most well known, alongside several other M6 landmarks.
The UK's most recognisable motorway landmarks are:
- Spaghetti Junction (M6)
- River Severn Bridge (M48)
- RAC Bescot (M6)
- Wicker Man (M5)
- Stirling Castle (M9)
- QEII Bridge (M25)
- Radcliffe on Soar Power Station (M1)
- Fort Dunlop (M6)
- The Medway Viaduct (M2)
- Stott Hall Farm (M62)
With drivers and passengers likely to be spending longer than average travelling in motorway traffic jams this weekend, the study also shows the broad role that landmarks will play. Nearly two thirds of motorists (64%) actively look out for them on trips, with a third of drivers using them to help navigate, and many (61%) use them to break up journeys, believing they help judge how long they've got left (20%) and cut the drive into manageable chunks (13%).
The iconic sites look set to play an important role in breaking up the monotony of severe August Bank Holiday congestion as holidaymakers embark on an optimistic bid for coastal summer sunshine and make the most of the last week of the school holidays.
RAC and Trafficmaster predict the Bank Holiday traffic to reach a getaway peak between 3pm and 7pm on Friday 24 August as leisure traffic mixes with commuters and commercial traffic. Traffic hotspots this weekend will include:
- M1, both directions junction 6a-11 and 21-34
- M5 from Bristol into the West Country
- M6, junctions 3a-11
- Cheshire and Lancashire towards the Lake District
- M55 to Blackpool
- M4 westbound from London, junctions 4b-14
- M25 - all, especially western junctions 21-9
- M60 - congested around Manchester
- M42 - both directions around the NEC
- M8 - in and out of Edinburgh and through Glasgow.
Neil Thompson, director of service delivery, RAC Rescue, commented: "The August bank holiday is set to be a very busy one for all the UK major routes as holidaymakers make one last dash for the coast and other outdoor destinations. We would urge motorists to allow an extra 45 minutes for journeys and to check travel updates online at http://www.rac.co.uk/ so that jams can be avoided."
The study also revealed the landmarks' more emotional benefits:
- A quarter of motorists (24%) like them because they're reassuring and have become part of their memories
- A fifth (19%) think of them as a discussion point and use them as an educational distraction for kids
- 15% say landmarks remind them of something pleasurable - such as a family holiday or favourite journey.
Neil Thompson adds: "It's a true celebration of British eccentricity that a concrete interchange is the most well-known motorway landmark. However, motorway driving can be extremely monotonous so it's no wonder that these iconic sites are so important to drivers and passengers alike for such varied reasons. The congestion predicted for this weekend means that people will have plenty of extra time to enjoy them!"
Those less optimistic about the bank holiday weather are expected to head to UK airports to enjoy the last long weekend of the year. In particular the motorways leading to Heathrow (M25 and M4), Gatwick (M23), Stansted (M11), Luton (M1), Birmingham (M42 and A45) and Manchester (M56) airports are predicted be heavily congested on Friday evening and Saturday morning.
RAC Press office contact:
Vicki Burn (01603 684224/ 07800 692909) or Adam Cracknell (01603 684916/ 07800 699517) or Leila Bateman on 07973 956850
ISDN telephone interviews and filming opportunities at RAC Bescot, with views of the M6 and RAC's busy call centre are available on request.
Note to editors:
* Research commissioned by Tickbox between in August 2007 surveying over 1,000 UK motorists.
About National Motorway Month
National Motorway Month is an initiative jointly promoted by The Royal Automobile Club Foundation, Amey, BEAR Scotland, the Highways Agency, the Freight Transport Association, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and RAC, to encourage safer driving on our motorways. The campaign runs from August 6-31.
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organizations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.
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 (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one in seven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 15%.
RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at http://www.racnews.co.uk/.
Trafficmaster is an expert in intelligent driving. The group comprises US-based Teletrac Inc and Trafficmaster Plc in the UK. Both organisations focus on intelligent vehicle services designed to make driving better by saving companies' and drivers' time and money and reducing their environmental impact.
Teletrac Inc offers fleet tracking, management and navigation solutions under the Fleet Director brand across the US, serving 4,000 fleets and a total of 55,000 commercial vehicles, using wireless and GPS technology.
The group has also developed a suite of Trafficmaster services in the UK. Trafficmaster's key product is the award-winning Smartnav, an intelligent satellite navigation system, which uses live traffic information and real-time road speeds to calculate optimum routes and avoid traffic congestion on the way. Trafficmaster's comprehensive traffic data means Smartnav is continually updated with traffic information, road closures and speed camera locations, without the need for CDs or internet-sourced updates.
Trafficmaster also offers Trackstar stolen vehicle tracking, monitored 24 hours a day in the Trafficmaster Control Centre. Stolen vehicles can automatically inform Trafficmaster and are then monitored remotely and police informed of their whereabouts for fast and efficient recovery.
The company provides live traffic information direct via mobile phone services and Radio Data System - Traffic Message Channel (RDS TMC) to other aftermarket and factory-fit satellite navigation systems.
Trafficmaster also maintains a unique traffic-monitoring network of 7,500 sensors, covering 8,000 miles of UK motorways and trunk roads.
Trafficmaster was founded in 1988 and floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1994. Teletrac Inc is a wholly owned US subsidiary company.