Motorists shun cars for Christmas getaway - RAC shares congestion hotspots

Article date: 20 December 2007

Nearly two thirds of UK motorists surveyed are seeking alternative ways to travel home for the festive season, but 18 million cars will still hit the roads this Friday (21 December 2007) according to new research out today from RAC.

  • With fuel prices at an all-time high, 58% of drivers claim they are less likely to travel to reach loved ones this Christmas compared with last year
  • Half (49%) of motorists are also predicting that they will be spending generally less time on the road this Christmas compared to last year
  • Traffic is predicted to dip to only 4 million cars on Christmas Day before rising to approximately 16 million on Thursday 27 and Friday 28

RAC spokesperson Neil Thompson says: "With motorists having to pay around 10p more per litre for fuel than last Christmas, it's unsurprising that they're seeking alternative travel arrangements - or not travelling at all.

"If you are travelling by car this Christmas, try to avoid the busiest time, which we predict will be 3pm on Friday 21 December, when an estimated 18 million cars will take to the road to drive home for an extended Christmas break."

The predicted* Christmas getaway congestion hot spots to avoid include:

South and South East

  • M25 westbound from junctions 21 - junction 10
  • Congestion expected throughout the M25
  • M1 home counties from junction 6a to junction 10. Current roadworks will be suspended, but expect increased delays

South and South West

  • M4 westbound from London - especially junctions 1 - 11 and around Bristol from 19-21


  • M1 around junctions 20 to 30. Current roadworks will be suspended, but expect increased delays
  • M6 - junctions 4 - 10 in both directions


  • M60 in both directions
  • M62 Trans Pennine route in West Yorkshire from junctions 23 - 30 in both directions


  • M8 in and out of Edinburgh from junctions 1 - 4
  • M8 through Glasgow from junctions 12 - 25
  • M80 to and from Glasgow
  • A720 Edinburgh ring road in both directions

RAC Rescue has compiled the following tips to help motorists over the Christmas period:

Tips for Winter Driving

  • If the forecast or conditions are really bad, only drive if you absolutely have to
  • Keep you car well ventilated to prevent drowsiness - and take regular breaks
  • Plan your journey in advance and check for diversions or closures
  • Keep an up-to-date roadmap in the car
  • Let friends or family know where you are travelling and when you expect to arrive
  • Keep a fully-charged mobile phone with you in case of breakdown

In your car

  • Check tyre pressure (spare tyre too!), tread depth and oil is OK
  • Know how the de-mister and heating controls work
  • Clear all snow and ice from your windows
  • De-mist the windows properly before you drive off

Watch Out

  • Watch out for gritting lorries or snowploughs
  • Drive slowly and smoothly through bends were a skid is more likely
  • During fog switch on your rear fog lights including front ones if you have them

- ends -

RAC Press office contact:
Vicki Burn 01603 684224/07800 692909, Sonia Clarke (020 7908 6570), Amy Funston (0207 908 6433) or Jennifer Hardisty (020 7908 6465)

Notes to editors
* Congestion hot spots predicted by TrafficMaster

RAC commissioned Tickbox to carry out the research. Tickbox surveyed 1080 motorists between the 15 - 20 November 2007.

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, 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 per cent.

RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at

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