RAC warns of bank holiday congestion hot spots - nine out 10 homeowners considering DIY visits

Article date: 28 April 2008

RAC is predicting congestion hot spots around out-of-town DIY stores this bank holiday weekend with nine out of 10 (86%) homeowners planning to visit home improvement stores at some point over the long weekend. The surge in DIY comes as a fifth of UK homeowners say they have been put off moving house this year in light of the 'credit crunch' and so are opting to enhance their current homes.

With traffic expected to peak around lunchtime on Saturday 3 May, the top five DIY store jams are expected* around:   

  1. A23 Purley Way, Croydon
  2. A406 North Circular at Brent Cross, North London
  3. A406 North Circular at Edmonton, North London
  4. A13/M25 interchange, Essex
  5. A635 Manchester Road, Ashton Under Lyne, Great Manchester

However, with a third (32%) of motorists putting their purchases, licences and lives at risk due to vision obscured by DIY purchases, RAC is urging drivers to pack safely before returning home. 

Crackers Patel, RAC Patrol, says: "May Day bank holiday is traditionally a busy time on the roads but this year's DIY mania will see an unusual surge in congestion hotspots around big home improvement stores. We are urging drivers to remove some of the stress of DIY trips by staggering trips to avoid the Saturday lunchtime rush.

"It's also important to remember that braking response and acceleration speed are significantly affected by the weight of a car so it's important to adapt driving styles accordingly. An over packed car with mirrors obscured by items bought at DIY stores can only spell disaster on the road."

RAC recommends the follow tips for motorists visiting DIY stores this weekend:

  1. As a 10kg object could weigh the equivalent of nearly ½ ton in a 40mph crash, wherever possible reduce the weight of any luggage or objects carried in your car
  2. If you do have to carry heavy objects, place them low and as far forward as possible in the luggage area, put the lightest objects on top only to the height of the rear seats
  3. Avoid storing any objects on the rear parcel shelf. Always ensure that the rear seat catches on your car are correctly locked in place
  4. If there are no passengers in the rear seats, fasten the seat belts, to give added stability to the back seat
  5. Use the vehicle tie down loops, (if fitted) and straps to secure the heaviest load in the boot
  6. Be mindful that if an object is too bulky to load into your car, consider the DIY delivery service to avoid a potential accident

The organisation is also warning that in the event of sunny weather the main holiday routes* will be congested including:

  1. Routes to the west of England (M4, M5, A303)
  2. Routes from Northern England to North Wales (M56, A55)
  3. Routes to the Lake District (M6, A590)
  4. Routes to Blackpool (M55)
  5. Routes between the Midlands and Norfolk (A47)

Other popular activities for motorists this May Day bank holiday include seeing friends and family and shopping - with long queues expected around shopping centres such as Bluewater (Kent) and the Trafford Centre (Greater Manchester).

To help keep the UK moving on the roads, RAC recommends the following tips for motorists make the most of their bank holiday weekend:

  1. Plan your route in advance of your journey and have an alternative at the ready in case of delays. Check local radio stations or RAC Route planner at http://www.rac.co.uk/
  2. Allow extra time for your journey, especially if you are heading for a popular resort or you are travelling at peak times
  3. Make sure you have enough fuel for your journey. Be aware that the stop/start actions of sitting in traffic jams use more fuel. RAC research shows that 64% of motorists do not know that £20 of petrol will only last an average of 130 miles.
  4. Checking oil and water levels and the pressure and condition of the tyres before setting off could help to prevent a breakdown


RAC Press office contact:
Vicki Burn 01603 684224/07800 692909, Sonia Clarke (020 7908 6570) or Louis Blake (020 7908 6523).

Notes to editors:

RAC commissioned Redshift Research to question 1240 motorists who own their own home between 10th April and 14th April 2008

*According to Trafficmaster

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.
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