August bank holiday

Traffic and travel advice

23 August 2011

Up to 16 million vehicles will hit the roads this bank holiday

Depending on the weather, up to 16 million vehicles are likely to hit the road this bank holiday weekend.

Traffic will build up from mid-afternoon on Friday (26 August) as people take advantage of the final weekend of summer and the diverse range of leisure and sporting events.

Some of the highlights include: Reading and Leeds music festivals, Creamfields in Cheshire, Towersey Village Festival in Oxfordshire, Greenbelt Festivals at Cheltenham Racecourse, rugby league cup final at Wembley, Twenty20 cricket at Edgbaston and Notting Hill Carnival among many others.

Traffic and travel

The latest AA/Populus* poll shows that 44% of AA members are likely to drive this weekend with the Northern Irish (53%) most likely, followed by Londoners and those in the East Midlands (both 47%). The Welsh (42%) are least likely to be getting behind the wheel.

For those hitting the road, a weekend away is most popular (40%) and more than a third (35%) will be going on or returning from a longer holiday. Around one in five (19%) will be going on a day trip and, of those, the coast/seaside (29%) is the most popular destination, then visiting family (24%) and attending a leisure event (12%).

Top 5 traffic hotspots

M3/M27/A31 from Winchester (J9) to Dorset coast
M4 between London and M5 interchange (J20)
M5 from Almondsbury (M4) to Exeter (J31)
A303 from M3 through Hampshire, Wiltshire and Somerset
M25 Western Sector between M1 interchange (Junction 21) and M3 interchange (Junction 12)

(Source: Trafficmaster)

In Scotland, it isn't a bank holiday but the Edinburgh Festival runs till 4 September, which causes additional congestion in the capital.

Next week (30 August to 2 September) commuters will benefit from a quieter week on the roads but traffic will peak again next weekend (3-4 September) as people head home.

Be prepared

Keith Miller, AA patrol of the year, says: "The August bank holiday is always one of the busiest weekends of the year for travel with only a week to go before most schools go back and a busy schedule of sporting and leisure events. This has already generated record demand for the AA Route Planner with more than five million routes a week.

"The weather over the weekend is forecast to be unsettled, which makes the traffic more unpredictable, so check the weather and traffic reports before departing.

"Carry plenty of drinking water, food and things to keep the children entertained and allow a few minutes to do the basic checks on your car before departing, paying particular attention to tyres, cooling system and operation of the cooling fan."

Traffic information

To help motorists beat the hotspots the number for the AA's traffic and travel advice line, AA Roadwatch, is 84322 or enter 'the AA' on your mobile phone keypad or call 0906 88 84322 from a landline**.

To access Trafficmaster Live Traffic information from your phone, call 0906 470 1740 from your landline, or 1740 from your mobile before you travel or during your journey for Live Traffic Reports.

To help travellers avoid unpredictable congestion, Trafficmaster has just launched TrafficView, the only travel app on the iStore which accesses its real-time traffic information. TrafficView is free over the August bank holiday and £5.99 from 1 September.

* Source: an AA/Populus online poll of 15,860 AA members conducted between 20-27 July 2011. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

** See AA Roadwatch for more about the service including call costs.

(24 August 2011)