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Around 22m leisure trips planned for this bank holiday weekend – the highest in six years

Press release   •   May 23, 2019 13:00 BST

Some 22m leisure journeys by car are planned for this bank holiday weekend, more than 8m more than last year and the highest number since the RAC first started asking drivers in 2014, according to new figures.*

As the current run of bank holidays comes to an end, with many people enjoying four days off over the course of just six weeks, it looks as though people are as eager as ever to get out and enjoy the longer days. And it is the major roads leading to popular bank holiday destinations that are likely to bear the brunt of the traffic, the RAC predicts.

Getaways look set to peak on Saturday with an estimated 6.6m separate trips planned (up from 3.8m last year), followed by bank holiday Monday (5.6m, up from 2.9m) and this coming Friday (5.3m, up from 4.5m), a day when drivers look likely to experience some lengthy jams as regular weekday traffic combines with the expected leisure traffic. It means that in total it is estimated there will be in the region of 22.5m leisure journeys taken by UK drivers between Friday and the end of the long weekend.

Manchester-based RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous said:

“Our research suggests a lot of drivers are planning on taking to the road over this weekend, with routes leading to the coasts, national parks and highlands like the Lake District likely to see significant volumes of traffic – and some extensive jams.

“No-one wants a breakdown to interrupt their enjoyment of the weekend, and it’s a fact that a little TLC of a vehicle can go a long way towards preventing one. At this time of year, when warmer weather coincides with traffic jams, it’s particularly important that every driver is confident their car can ‘keep its cool’ to avoid a breakdown. So we strongly recommend lifting the bonnet to check the coolant is at the right level, and if it’s not to either top up or visit a good local garage to get it checked out.

“We also continue to see drivers running into a lot of problems caused by under-inflated tyres, and those in poor condition. It’s crucial to check tyre tread and pressure before every long journey – it takes just minutes, and with many people likely to cover considerable distances this weekend it really can make the difference between being safe and being sorry.”

Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Chris Bulmer said:

“This upcoming Bank Holiday weekend will start off fine and warm with sunny spells in the south, but for northern parts of the UK it’ll be cooler, cloudier and breezy with some rain at times.

“At the moment Saturday looks to be one of the better days of the weekend with the promise of sunshine for most, whereas Sunday will be cloudier with outbreaks of rain moving in from the west. By Monday this rain and cloud should clear with a return to sunny spells and the odd shower in places, feeling cooler across the country in the fresh westerly breeze.”

Highways England has said it is removing more than 700 miles of roadworks ahead of the weekend, meaning around 97% of motorways and major A-roads will be free of roadworks.


Traffic this weekend

Date Planned leisure trips by car Major roads likely to be particularly busy between
Friday 24 May 5.6m 4pm and 7pm
Saturday 25 May 6.6m 10am and 3pm
Sunday 26 May 5m 10am and 3pm
Monday 27 May 5.3m 12pm and 4pm
Total Friday to Monday 22.5m

The RAC website has comprehensive advice to drivers on how to reduce the chances of a vehicle breakdown.

Notes to Editors

* 2019 figures based on a survey of 2,100 UK drivers’ travel plans for this weekend. 2018 figure: 14m journeys between Friday before up to bank holiday Monday inclusive; 2014 figure: 12.2m

For all media enquiries, please contact the RAC press team on +44 (0)1454 664 123. The line is manned by an on-call press officer outside office hours. ISDN radio studio facilities are available for interviews Monday to Friday.


About the RAC

First formed in 1897, the RAC has been looking after the needs of its members for more than 120 years.

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