Easter 2019 – bank holiday travel advice: best and worst times to travel in the holidays, and the ro

More than 27 million cars are expected on Britain’s road this Easter holiday, with motorists warned that some journeys could take three times longer than usual due to congestion.

Data from the RAC and traffic data analysts Inrix estimates that Good Friday alone will see 4.4m car journeys undertaken, with lengthy queues and delays along several popular routes.

The data warns that major roads will be busy with traffic from 11am to 4.30pm, with delays of nearly an hour, before any accidents or breakdowns are taken into account.

The worst delays are expected on the M5 southbound, passing west of Bristol (J16 to J19) – part of the popular holiday route towards Devon and Cornwall – the M25 anticlockwise from Bromley (J4) through the Dartford Tunnel to the A13 (J30), the M6 north between Preston (J31) and Lancaster (J34), and the M62 west between Leeds (J27) and Manchester (J18) where delays of around an hour are expected.

Worst and best times to travel on the roads this bank holiday.

For drivers hoping to get avoid the Friday crush and get away on Thursday, they are advised to get on the road early – before 11am – or late – after 9pm – to avoid the worst. For the rest of the weekend an even earlier start is being advised.

Huge Tailbacks

Over the entire bank holiday weekend around 12m leisure journeys will be taken, with a further 15m in the days before Good Friday.

RAC traffic watch spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “This week we’re expecting a significant second wave of Easter getaway traffic, following that which we saw at the start of April when schools broke up. This will mean the coming week and the bank holiday will likely be characterised by lengthy queues in some spots.

“Traffic jams are frustrating at the best of times and while we can predict where some of these will crop up, it only takes a single bump or breakdown for huge tailbacks to form.”

Dan Croft, incident group operations manager at Inrix, said: “Drivers in the UK are all too familiar with traffic jams. In fact, the average UK driver lost more than 170 hours to congestion last year.

“During peak hours over Easter, journeys could take UK drivers three times longer than usual. We are predicting Good Friday will be the worst for traffic from late morning into the afternoon.

“For drivers looking to avoid the worst congestion, the best options are to travel on Saturday, set off early in the morning and keep updated with real-time traffic data.”

Simple checks

Rod Dennis said that while accidents contributed to hold-ups many drivers were suffering avoidable breakdowns because they failed to carry out basic checks before heading off.

He said: “A lot of the breakdowns our patrols attend are completely avoidable if drivers had checked over their cars before they set out. Wrongly inflated tyres, or those with a lack of tread, along with low oil and coolant levels and even a lack of fuel are all typical breakdowns at this time of year. It’s therefore vital motorists spend a few moments checking these things before getting behind the wheel.”



Highways England said it had cleared more than 450 miles of cones ahead of the bank holiday and 99 per cent of motorways and major A roads will be traffic free for this weekend.

Highways England’s customer service director Melanie Clarke said: “We’re doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible this Easter and that’s why we’re keeping around 99 per cent of the road network we manage, free from roadworks.

“Safety is our top priority and we know from experience that almost half of breakdowns can easily be avoided if motorists carry out simple vehicle checks before setting off over this period.”


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