Last Chance for Summer

Optimistic Brits are planning Bank Holiday at the beach

22 August 2007

Despite a wash out summer, the AA reveals that the roads this weekend will be as busy as they were during last summer's Bank Holiday scorcher, with an estimated 18 million vehicles travelling over 77 miles each to enjoy their last chance for a summer break.

New research from the AA reveals that over a third of motorists (37%) have pre-planned a Bank Holiday getaway this weekend - slightly up on last years number (35%). One in five will be taking a long weekend away and 17 per cent have organised day trips.

Waiting to the last minute

Many motorists however are cautiously waiting until the last minute to decide if they will head out on to the roads over the weekend. This has led the UK's largest breakdown organisation, to advise motorists about the importance of making vital car care checks before setting off, to help prevent unnecessary breakdowns and to ensure vehicles are prepared for unpredictable driving conditions.

Regardless of what the weather has in store, nearly a third (29 per cent) of Bank Holiday Brits are still intending to head for seaside resorts. AA Route Planner data reveals that Brighton, Bournemouth and Blackpool will be the popular destinations over the course of the weekend.

Busiest day

Friday will be the busiest day to travel with roads getting busy from late morning, as people make the most of the last public holiday until Christmas. Friday is also expected to be the busiest day for breakdowns. The AA received just under 96,000 breakdown calls last August Holiday weekend, and these are expected to rise this year thanks to unpredictable weather. As such the AA will have around 20% more patrols available during this period.

AA Advice

The AA's Patrol of the Year, Adam Ashmore, explains: "It's been a fairly unpredictable summer this year and this looks set to be the case over the Bank Holiday weekend too. Rain or shine, we always advise drivers to make careful preparations before setting out on a journey, including finding out about local traffic and weather conditions. Checking your car's coolant and oil levels, battery, tyre tread and pressures can all make for a much smoother, incident-free journey.

"A number of major events and festivals that may cause local congestion are also scheduled to take place over the Bank Holiday weekend and there is a full programme of sporting fixtures in place; so it is always good advice to plan your route before travelling and to leave plenty of time for your journey."

AA podcasts

For motorists wanting advice on making key checks before they travel, the AA has created a set of podcasts featuring experienced AA patrols demonstrating simple car care procedures. The AA is advising drivers heading out this weekend to view the 'how to check windscreen wipers' and 'preparing for a journey' podcasts at

Top ten AA Route Planner searches

  1. Brighton
  2. Theme Parks
  3. Bournemouth
  4. Blackpool
  5. Torquay
  6. Newquay
  7. Great Yarmouth
  8. Skegness
  9. Tenby
  10. Scarborough

Congestion hotspots

Traffic delays are estimated to be up by 33% on Friday

The Bank Holiday Monday itself will see much higher levels of traffic returning to major city destinations in the evening as people return to start work on Tuesday.

The top five busy routes nationally are:

  • M25 around London
  • M1 Northbound
  • M4 Westbound
  • M6 through the West Midlands and North of Manchester / Liverpool
  • M5 Northbound in the Midlands and Southbound around Bristol

Busy coastal routes include:

  • M55 to Blackpool
  • A64 to Scarborough
  • A23 to Brighton


Many minor roadworks will be lifted, but particular delays may be encountered where major roadworks are in place, including:

  • M1 in Hertfordshire Junctions 6A and 10
  • M1 between junctions 31 and 32 in South Yorkshire,
  • Holmesdale Tunnel on the M25 between junctions 25 and 26
  • A27 at Beddingham, where a level crossing upgrade is under way
  • A1 at the Colsterworth Roundabout
  • M4 past Cardiff between junctions 30 and 32


22 August 2007