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Expect delays as 15 million cars hit the roads this weekend

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Holidaymakers heading away for a final break over the bank holiday have been told to expect severe delays on the roads with the AA predicting 15 million car journeys over the three day weekend. 

Traffic is likely to get steadily heavier on Friday and reach a peak between 10am and 4pm on Saturday. Sunday and Monday afternoons are also expected to be particularly busy, said the AA.

The insurer and roadside rescue firm said 45% of drivers in the UK are likely to embark on a car journey during the long weekend, prompting it to issue an Amber Traffic Warning lasting from Friday 26 August until Monday 29 August.

Sean Sidley, AA patrol of the year, said routes to and from coastal resorts and beauty spots will be among the busiest.

He added: “Drivers should plan ahead for the journey and check your car before you go.”

The AA said several major events held over the weekend would add to traffic volumes.

Reading and Leeds Festivals, CarFest South, the Notting Hill Carnival, the final weekend of the Edinburgh Fringe and a full programme of Football League and Premier League fixtures are due to take place across the country.

Sidley said: “With events and festivals fully back to normal after the pandemic, localised congestion will peak at closing time around major venues.”

Fuel savings

After a summer of sky high prices at the pumps fuel costs have fallen back, making travel by car a less expensive option.

The average price of petrol fell to 171.41p a litre on Sunday. At the beginning of July, it had hit a record of 191.53p a litre.

The AA said a drop of 20p a litre cuts £11.06 from the cost of filling the typical car tank.

Diesel continues to fall and, at 182.70p a litre on Sunday, now averages 16.37p cheaper than its 199.07p a litre record at the start of July.

Predicted AA Route Planner traffic hotspots

  • M4/M5 interchange near Bristol
  • M25 Western and South Western sections
  • M5 between Taunton and Exeter
  • M1 between the M25 and Newport Pagnell
  • M6/M42 Birmingham
  • M62 Liverpool to Manchester section and Leeds
  • M60
  • M56
  • Edinburgh area (M8, A90, A720)

Check your car

Last year, the AA attended nearly 40,000 breakdowns over the August bank holiday weekend.

Battery issues, tyre problems, overheating engines and keys locked in the car are some of the most likely reasons for drivers to call for help.

  • Check your car: Preparation is key so before heading off on your summer holiday road trip, carry out essential checks on your car. Remember FLOWER – fuel, lights, oil, water, electrics, and rubber.
  • Plot your route: Check the traffic and weather reports before you leave and avoid travelling at peak times if possible. Allow plenty of extra time for the journey in case of delays – particularly if you have a ferry or plane to catch.
  • Pack the essentials: Pack plenty of supplies to keep everyone well hydrated as well as any personal medication, entertainment to keep the kids occupied, a fully-charged mobile phone in case of emergency and sat-nav or a traditional atlas in case of diversions.
  • Plan some stops: Plan in regular stops to break up the journey – at least one every three hours.