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RAC warns of bank holiday traffic as motorists make up for Easter coming early

Press release   •   Apr 27, 2016 00:01 BST

The RAC is warning motorists planning on taking to the roads for the May Day Bank Holiday weekend to expect a frantic Friday followed by a supercharged Saturday and Sunday of traffic.

Weather permitting, record numbers of leisure journeys are due to be made this weekend as Brits seek to make the most of the extra day off work, meaning holiday traffic levels should far exceed those seen at Easter.

The getaway will begin on Friday when RAC Traffic Watch research shows 5.4m leisure journeys will be made as motorists try to beat the rush – perhaps creating one in doing so. Saturday is predicted to see a sensational 8.4m car trips, Sunday 6.9m and Bank Holiday Monday 4.8m, taking the weekend tally to 20.1m.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “The number of people who plan to use their cars for leisure trips, whether that’s visiting family and friends or enjoying a day out or some time away, is far greater this year than last. In fact our data shows us that we are likely to see a similar volume of car use as we did at Easter which is traditionally the biggest driving bank holiday weekend of the year.

“This level of recreational car journeys is the highest we have seen in recent times. We think it can only be a hangover effect from Easter falling in late March when perhaps people didn’t drive as much as they would have had it been April when the weather would have been a little warmer.

“Now the clocks have gone forward and we’ve already had a feel of warmer weather there’s every reason to head for the traditional weekend getaway spots in the hope of being able to enjoy some fun in the sun. As a result we are expecting more than nine million more car journeys than on the last May Day Bank Holiday.

“And, despite petrol and diesel prices going up at the moment the average price of fuel is still 7p a litre cheaper than it was this time last year which means it costs nearly £4 less to fill up a 55-litre family car, making every trip that bit more affordable.”

May Day Bank Holiday traffic hotspots

  • M5 from Bristol to Taunton
  • A303 Andover to Ilminster
  • A30 and A38 Exeter to Cornwall
  • M4 between Cardiff and Swansea
  • M25 between Gatwick and M1
  • A23/M23 to Brighton
  • A47 Swaffham to Great Yarmouth
  • A11 Thetford to Norwich
  • M55 between Preston and Blackpool
  • A14 between Midlands and East Coast
  • A66 between M6 and the coast
  • M53 between Liverpool and Chester

May Day Bank Holiday Getaway Peak Travel Times

Date Best travel times Busiest travel time
Friday 29th April Before 4pm or after 8pm 5-6pm
Saturday 30th April Before 10am and after 2pm 12pm
Sunday 1st May Before 10am and after 2pm 12pm
Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May Before 12pm and after 6pm 3pm

To help plan a journey, download the free RAC App for iPhone or Android smartphones or visit to use RAC Route Planner, which gives the most up to date road information available including incidents and ongoing roadworks and weather. 

Notes to Editors

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About the RAC

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.

The RAC is the motorist’s champion and campaigns to support the interests of its members and UK motorists at a national level, including advancing levels of road safety, supporting the needs of young drivers and voicing concerns about the increasing cost of motoring. The RAC’s annual Report on Motoring – first published in 1989 – provides a clear insight into the concerns and issues facing today’s motorists.

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