Motorists are being urged to plan ahead for possible delays over the May bank holiday as new RAC Breakdown research suggests nearly 15m separate leisure trips will be made by car between Friday and Monday, the highest number since 2016.
Despite the perhaps predictable arrival of what the Met Office expects will be cooler, more changeable weather than of late, drivers are still keen to take advantage of the recent easing of Covid restrictions to see friends and family or take day trips. The appetite for such trips exceeds Easter, with the RAC survey of 1,000 drivers suggesting an estimated 62% more leisure trips are planned this coming bank holiday weekend than four weeks ago.
The figures indicate Saturday will be the busiest day of the weekend with the equivalent of 2.6m journeys planned, followed by Friday with 2.3m and bank holiday Monday with 2m. But an additional 6.2m trips are due to be taken at some point over the weekend by drivers who aren’t sure which day they will be on the road – suggesting many might be waiting to find out exactly what the weather has in store.
While Covid continues to impact some drivers’ desire to get out and about, with a fifth (19%) not planning a leisure trip by car at all over the bank holiday for this very reason, the figure is down from Easter when 25% said they weren’t travelling because of the pandemic.
RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said:
“After what was one of the quietest Easters on the roads in years our figures suggest the easing of Covid restrictions has made a dramatic difference with millions more drivers planning to hit the roads.
“It remains to be seen what effect the weather will have as meeting up in soggy parks and gardens may not prove quite so appealing. And if it’s too cold for a trip to the beach, then there could be a big uplift in visits to shops, cafes and restaurants with covered outdoor areas.
“Nonetheless, the prospect of queues on the roads – particularly leading to major shopping centres – looks far more likely this coming weekend, and we’d advise drivers to plan ahead and keep tuned to local traffic bulletins to find out if there’s any disruption. What’s more, given nearly a fifth of drivers we surveyed said they had yet to decide on which day over the long weekend they will be travelling, it might well be the case that the weather ends up playing a deciding role in which days end up being busiest. Any sunnier, warmer days could trigger many more people to jump into their cars.”
The RAC is recommending all motorists complete the usual ‘pre-drive checks’ before setting out, something that takes just a few minutes but could avoid hours of hassle as a result of a breakdown. Ensuring all tyres are in good condition and properly inflated – including those on caravans or trailers for those towing – along with checking oil and coolant levels should be top of the list.
By day: Drivers’ planned leisure trips by car this weekend
|Friday 30 April||2.30m|
|Saturday 1 May||2.63m|
|Sunday 2 May||1.64m|
|Bank holiday Monday 3 May||1.97m|
|Planning a trip over this period, but unsure of on which day/s||6.25m|