Congestion chaos as festival fever hits bank holiday Brits

Article date: 21 August 2009

RAC is predicting a busy bank holiday on the nation’s roads as music fans from across the country prepare for one of the busiest festival periods of the summer. With the long range forecast promising some much-needed sunshine, seaside resorts are also bracing themselves for an increase in traffic as British motorists look to squeeze the most out of the long weekend.

Friday evening is expected to be the busiest period on the roads according to RAC estimates and rail engineering works are once again set to disrupt journeys on the West Coast, Midland and Great Eastern mainlines. With more people set to reach for their car keys, RAC has provided some simple travel advice to help motorists avoid congestion chaos and get the best out their extended break.

RAC patrol manager David Hawes said: “The August bank holiday weekend is typically one of the year’s busiest periods on the roads and we always get a big increase in the number of callouts we receive. One of the most common breakdowns we see is motorists simply running out of fuel, especially on long motorway routes so we always recommend ensuring you’ve got enough juice in the tank to reach your destination and not run on fumes!

“The British summer has been pretty miserable so far, so with the weekend’s forecast looking quite good, we’ll probably see a lot of people hit the road for a late break, causing congestion on many coastal routes. There are lots of popular events up and down the country which means congestion on some routes is unavoidable. This is the last bank holiday before Christmas and to make the most of it drivers need to leave plenty of time for their journeys, and, where possible, avoid the Friday rush.”

Major events likely to cause local traffic disruption include:

  • 28 – 30 August: Reading Music Festival – M4 (J10 & 11), A329(M) and A33
  • 28 – 30 August: Leeds Music Festival – A1 and M1 (J45 & 46)
  • 28 – 30 August: Solfest Music Festival, Cumbria – M6 (J43), A596, A595, B5301 and B5300
  • 28 – 30 August: Retrofest, Glasgow – A71, M77, A76, A77
  • 29 – 30 August: Creamfields Music Festival, Daresbury, Cheshire – M56            (J10 & 11), M6 (J9) and A5
  • 29 August: Rugby League Challenge Cup Final, Wembley – M6, M40, A40, M1 (J4&5) M25, A410 and A5
  • 28 – 31 August: Manchester Pride, Manchester – M60, M62, M602
  • 30 – 31 August: Matthew Street Festival, Liverpool – M62
  • 30 – 31 August: Notting Hill Carnival, M4, A4, A40, A5, A4202

To find the latest traffic and travel information, visit to view interactive realtime video and audio updates on the UK’s roads, ferry crossings and London Underground services

Top Tips for travelling over the Bank Holiday weekend

  1. Plan your route and have an alternative at the ready in case of delays or bad weather. Visit for a selection of alternative routes. Check local radio stations or the RAC live traffic information on 64644**, which has the ability to detect your position from your mobile phone, or 09003 444999** from a landline
  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 in case 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 much safer, slowing by 10mph can save up to 40p on fuel for every 10 miles
  5. Checking oil and water levels and the pressure and condition of the tyres before setting off could help to prevent a breakdown

Other destination hotspots*

North West:

  • M6 (J36 & 37), A590, A591 towards Windermere, Ambleside, Kendal and Ullswater
  • A595 Whitehaven both directions
  • M55 towards Blackpool, M6 (J32) both directions
  • M6 (J15 & 16), A50 towards Alton Towers

South West:

  • M5 Southbound from Bristol J15 toward J31 for Devon
  • M4 Westbound from J19 & 20
  • A30 Westbound, Cornwall
  • A303 around Stonehenge and Amesbury

South East:

  • M25 (J16 with M40, J26 for Waltham Abbey, J9 for Chessington World of Adventures, J11 & 13 for Thorpe Park)
  • M1 (J10 Luton Airport)
  • M11 (J8 Stansted Airport)
  • M4 (J4 Heathrow Airport)
  • M23 (J23 Gatwick Airport)


  • M4 Westbound approaching the Newport Brynglas Tunnels, roadworks in both directions between J28 Tredegar Park and J30 Cardiff Gate
  • A48 Westbound
  • A494 Southbound between Drome Corner and Queensferry, A55 to and from Anglesey approaching the Britannia Bridge

For more assistance in planning your route visit


Notes to editors:

* According to Trafficlink - the UK's biggest traffic and travel news provider 

**calls from a mobile are charged at 60p per minute at all times, charges will appear on your network provider phone bill, alternatively you may call 09003 444999 from a landline, also charged at 60p per minute.All call charges are inclusive of vat at 17.5%.

Using a mobile phone incorrectly whilst driving can be dangerous and may endanger the safety of other road users. It could also be illegal. You should not hold a phone when driving, and should exercise due care and attention, even when using hands free equipment.

RAC recommends that you use 64644 to plan your journey before you depart, and park safely before using the 64644 service, or use a suitable hands free device.

For media enquiries please contact:
Nick Woods, Hill & Knowlton: 0207 413 3515,
Vicki Burn, RAC: 07800 692909,
Erik Nelson, RAC: 07989 427086,

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, insurance, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs.
  • 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 and the top named service organisation in the July 2009 UK Customer Satisfaction Index from the Institute of Customer Service.
  • 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 Aviva UK Insurance (formerly Norwich Union Insurance). Aviva is the UK's largest insurer with a market share of around 15 per cent.
  • RAC is part of Aviva, the world's fifth largest insurance group which operates in 28 countries.
  • RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at

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