Up to 40 per cent of AA members likely to drive this weekend
Cooler and more unsettled conditions will help take some of the sting out of the August bank holiday traffic, says the AA, on what is normally one of the busiest weekends of the year.
The latest AA-Populus survey of 17,600 AA members found that around 40% are likely drive this bank holiday weekend on holiday or outing – averaging 50-60 miles a day – down from 45% last year.
This equates to up to 14 million drivers on leisure journeys this weekend, with 21% of respondents driving to a special event such as a show or festival.
Some of the highlights include several music festivals – Reading and Leeds, Creamfields in Cheshire, Towersey Festival in Oxfordshire, Greenbelt in Northamptonshire, CarFest South near Overton, Hampshire, and South West Four on Clapham Common, London.
There is also the Notting Hill Carnival, London, Portsmouth International Kite Festival, Hampshire, and air shows at Clacton, Essex, and Dawlish, Devon, among many others. Sports fans are well catered for too with rugby league Tetley’s Challenge Cup Final at Wembley plus a full football fixture list.
The AA-Populus poll shows that drivers in the East Midlands (46%) are most likely to be driving on holiday or outing, followed by those in the North-east (45%) and Eastern England (45%).
A day trip (52%) is the most favoured outing/holiday; followed by a weekend away (24%); and going on or returning from a longer holiday (12%). Respondents in Eastern England (57%) are most likely to be going on a day trip; Londoners most favour a weekend away (31%); and those in the East Midlands (16%) are most likely to be packing their bags for a longer holiday.
The coast/seaside (38%) remains the most popular destination, then visiting family (33%) with more than a fifth (21%) opting for a special event.
Excluding Scotland where it’s not a bank holiday, people in Wales (58%), North-west (57%) and South-west (56%) are most likely to stay at home.
While the cooler, unsettled weather may make it more of a DIY than BBQ weekend for some, the August bank holiday is still one of the busiest travel periods of the year
Mark Spowage, AA patrol of the year
Traffic information specialist Trafficmaster expects congestion on holiday routes from Thursday 21 August but particularly on Friday (22 August) with heavy holiday traffic from mid-morning.
Next week (26-29 August) commuters will benefit from a quieter week on the roads but traffic will peak again next Sunday (31 August) as people head home.
Mark Spowage, AA patrol of the year, says: “While the cooler, unsettled weather may make it more of a DIY than BBQ weekend for some, the August bank holiday is still one of the busiest travel periods of the year. There’s also a packed schedule of sport, music and other events, which will generate localised congestion, particularly at finish time.”
According to Trafficmaster, these are likely to be the top five August bank holiday traffic hotspots:
A303 - Westbound from M3 Junction 8 to A30 at Upottery, Devon
M25 - Western sector both ways between Junction 21 (M1 interchange) and Junction 10 (A3 interchange); and South-eastern sector both ways between Dartford crossing and Junction 7 (M23)
M3/M27/A31 - Southbound from Junction 9 (A34) to M27 at Junction 13; and M27/A31 westbound towards the Dorset coast
M4 - Westbound from Junction 1 (Chiswick) to Junction 13 (Chieveley); and between Junction 18 (Bath) and Junction 20 (Almondsbury Interchange/M5)
M5 - Westbound from Junction 15 (Almondsbury Interchange/M4) to Junction 31 (Exeter South)
On Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday (24-25 August), traffic across much of the country is expected to be relatively quiet. During the late afternoon of Bank Holiday Monday (25 August) there will be heavier homebound traffic on the main holiday routes. It is expected, however, that the rest of the week (26-29 August) will be quieter than usual on the roads with comparatively little commuter traffic, as many take advantage of a full week’s break.
While some of the major roadworks on trunk roads and motorways in England and Wales will be removed or suspended over the Bank Holiday weekend, restrictions around these sites may remain adding to congestion during peak hours.
In Scotland, it isn’t a bank holiday but the Edinburgh Festival runs till 31 August, which causes additional congestion in the capital.
(21 August 2014)
* Source: Populus interviewed 17,600 adults aged 18+ on The AA-Populus online panel between 13-18 August 2014. Populus www.populus.co.uk is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.