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RAC expects busiest late spring bank holiday on the roads in three years

Press release   •   May 25, 2016 10:00 BST

More than 15 million cars will be on the country’s major roads for the coming bank holiday getaway – a million more than in 2015 and the highest number in three years, new figures from RAC Traffic Watch show.*

A study of nearly 1,700 motorists’ plans for the bank holiday shows Saturday 28 May is expected to be the most hectic day, with around 4.5 million cars taking to the roads as Brits get away to enjoy the last long weekend before the end of August.

This Friday is set to be the next busiest day with 3.9 million individual leisure journeys, which coincides with the start of the half-term break for many families across the UK. And it appears some people will use most of Saturday to get packed up for their holiday, as Sunday 29 May will still see around 3.6 million getaway journeys.

RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: “It looks as though a late spring getaway is a little more appealing to motorists this year than last – with the reasonably settled weather perhaps being one factor that is contributing to the desire by many to escape in the car.

“The good news for motorists is that family car trips will be much cheaper this May than in recent years. Filling a petrol Ford Focus will cost on average about £60 this year, about £4 less than last year and a whopping £11.50 less than in 2014 – hopefully leaving a little more in the wallet.

“And while current weather forecasts do not suggest this bank holiday is going to be scorching, certainly when the sun does show its face it is going to feel very pleasant wherever you are in the UK.

“We recommend drivers plan and their trips carefully and try to avoid the busiest times at all possible – Friday evening is likely to be especially hectic on major routes, as is Saturday from late morning to mid-afternoon.

“As well as packing the car, make sure it is prepared well too. It can really pay to do some simple checks on your car before you set out, especially if you are planning on covering any great distance. So check oil, coolant and washer fluid levels and ensure all tyres have plenty of tread, something that is especially important if you’re planning on towing a trailer or caravan.”

The RAC has produced a range of short travel guides to give motorists inspiration for a road trip, whether at home or abroad – search online for ‘RAC best drives’. For driving advice and tips, visit

Late spring getaway car journeys this year

Friday 27 May 3.9 million journeys
Saturday 28 May 4.5 million journeys
Sunday 29 May 3.6 million journeys
Monday 30 May 3.3 million journeys
Total 15.3 million journeys

Car journeys this year compared to previous years*

2014 12.2 million journeys
2015 14 million journeys
2016 15.3 million journeys

Anticipated worst times to travel

Friday 27 May 2016 Between 4pm and 9pm
Saturday 28 May Between 11am and 4pm
Sunday 29 May Between 11am and 4pm
Monday 30 May Between 1pm and 6pm

Notes to Editors

* Data provided to the RAC by Ragdoll Research. Base: 1,689 motorists. All years’ data based on combined volume of getaway traffic between Friday before the late summer bank holiday and bank holiday Monday itself, inclusive. For 2016, this covers Friday 27 May to Monday 30 May inclusive. 2014 figure: 12.2m; 2015 figure: 14.0m; 2016 figure: 15.3m

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With more than eight million members, the 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, buying a used car, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information – the RAC offers a solution for all motoring needs. The RAC is committed to making motoring easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for drivers and road users.

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