RAC warns of worst ever bank holiday congestion

Article date: 3 May 2007

RAC is warning of unprecedented May Day bank holiday congestion with motorists reporting they will drive up to an additional 1.8 billion miles in comparison to last year* - the equivalent of travelling to the moon and back four thousand times.

With traffic predicted to reach a getaway peak between 3pm and 7pm on Friday 4 May, RAC and Trafficmaster are warning that traffic will increase by 150% on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday. The increased congestion is set to send British drivers over the edge - motorists told RAC that being stuck in a traffic jam is nearly four times as stressful as rowing with their partner (90% vs 23%).

Congestion hotspots include:

  • M25 (western, northern and eastern sectors)
  • M1 through Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire
  • M6, particularly between the M6 Toll and around Birmingham.

The fine weather forecast could also create coastal route misery for day trippers, particularly:

  • A12 to the East coast
  • M3, A21, A23 and A3 to the South coast,
  • M5 from Bristol area to Weston-Super-Mare
  • A55 to coast of North Wales
  • A64 to Scarborough.

A busy event schedule compounds the problem with key dates including:

  • The HCVS Commercial Vehicle London to Brighton Run, Sunday - expect large numbers of day trippers heading to Brighton on the M23
  • Newmarket race meetings on Saturday and Sunday - the A142, A14 and A11 are likely to be congested
  • Motor racing and motor bike events at Silverstone (A43), and Oulton Park (A54 and A49) in Cheshire over the whole weekend
  • Eight premiership games being played this Saturday.

Neil Thompson, director of service delivery, RAC Rescue, commented: "A fine weather forecast, memories of the hot Easter break, threats of industrial action at airports and a packed events schedule is a recipe for the most congested UK roads we have ever seen over a May Day bank holiday. We are urging motorists to allow an extra 45 minutes for their journeys and to check travel updates online at www.rac.co.uk so that jams can be avoided."

Top reasons for the additional bank holiday driving include visiting relatives (43%), DIY shopping (39%) and visiting areas of natural beauty (36%).


* The average UK motorist reported they would travel 55 additional miles over the bank holiday weekend. There are 32.8 million licensed vehicles in the UK therefore an extra 1.8 billion miles could be driven over the bank holiday weekend.

Research commissioned by Tickbox between 19 and 23 April 2007.

RAC Press office contact:
Jon Day (01603 209287/07800 690555) or Liz Kennett (01603 688263/07800 699667) 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:

About RAC
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/.

About Trafficmaster
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.


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