As the mass exodus begins RAC Traffic Watch expects around 3.5 million additional festive car journeys today either back home from visits to family and friends or trips on to the next round of festivities. Drivers warned to expect heavy rainfall and localised flooding.
RAC Traffic Watch spokesman Pete Williams: “Yesterday (Christmas Day) was relatively peaceful on the roads although we saw significantly higher volumes of traffic on the roads in the south of the country. In particular the M25 proved a challenge for many motorists and central London was also very busy. Elsewhere the motorists our patrols encountered appeared to be staying closer to home with lots of local journeys. The RAC dealt with more breakdowns associated with the heavy rainfall including problems with wipers and minor accidents. Otherwise it was the usual problems including punctures, non-starts and battery failure.
“This morning it is steady on the roads and our patrols are responding swiftly to breakdowns as families begin the journey home after their Christmas celebrations.
“With heavy rainfall in the north of England, Scotland and Wales the RAC is warning drivers to be prepared for adverse conditions on the road and avoid driving into flood water. Modern cars are very reliable but they are not waterproof and drivers are advised to avoid driving through water when they are not aware of its depth.
"Lancashire and Cumbria are continuing to prove challenging and drivers are advised to check local weather, police and environment agency warnings before embarking on their journey.
“The lifting of over 400 miles of road works by Highways England has appeared to contribute to better traffic flow nationally and reduced congestion. The M25 appears to be the major hot spot with reported lengthy delays on Christmas Day.
“Drivers are advised that before heading off on a long journey that they do the simple maintenance checks including: oil; coolant; screen wash; and to ensure their tyres are correctly inflated and they have adequate tread which will ensure that they maintain grip and traction on the road in the expected rain. And check your lights are working well and wipers are doing an effective job of clearing your windscreen. Also make sure you pack some refreshments and have a fully charged mobile phone just in case.”