AA Travel Advice for Christmas

It's going to be a quieter Christmas on the roads

22 December 2008

An AA Patrol van on a snow covered road between Whitby and Scarborough

Weather and the recession are expected to keep people off the roads this Christmas

It's going to be a quieter Christmas on the roads, predicts the AA. New research1 shows the roads look set to be quieter than usual over the festive season, with 65 per cent of people questioned saying they will be avoiding travelling and staying at home.

Factors such as the credit crunch and possible icy weather seem to have had an impact upon people's decisions to forego the usual Christmas travel – almost one fifth of people (18%) who travelled over Christmas last year have decided to change their plans and stay at home for Christmas 2008.

  • 11% of people are intending to rack up over 100 miles in order to visit friends and family for their festive celebrations
  • Londoners keen to get out of the city will be travelling the furthest, with 15% gearing up to travel more than 100 miles over the Christmas period
  • 59% of people would rather stay at home for Christmas than travel to friends or family
  • 55% of people hope to spend less than an hour travelling in the car over the Christmas period
  • Only 10% of people will be spending over four hours in the car over the Christmas period compared to 25% in 2007
  • The busiest day for driving will be Monday, 22nd December as people begin to travel to their Christmas destinations
  • Christmas Day will be the quietest day on the roads, with 85% of people saying they won't be travelling long distances2
  • Many people are set to escape altogether with research from the AA Route Planner revealing Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport as two of the top 10 popular destinations for motorists

AA travel tools and advice

Andy Taylor, AA Patrol of the Year 2008, shares his tips for travelling over the Christmas period:

AA Patrol of the year "Despite fewer numbers expected to hit the roads over Christmas, winter weather can still prove hazardous. Punctures increase over the winter months when the roads are wet, as water and grime lubricate foreign objects making it easier for them to penetrate the tyres.

"Ensure that you pack essentials for an emergency such as warm clothing and blankets, chocolate, water and a hot drink, de-icer, a torch, first aid kit, tow rope, warning triangle, a map in case of unexpected diversions and a fully charged mobile phone. And always remember to check your car battery – flat batteries are the most common cause for AA call outs."

AA Route Planner »

AA Roadwatch »

More winter driving advice »

Christmas travel factfile

Top ten destinations

  1. London (central London, in particular the West End)
  2. Manchester
  3. Birmingham
  4. Leeds
  5. NEC
  6. Bristol
  7. Milton Keynes
  8. Nottingham
  9. Heathrow Airport
  10. Gatwick Airport

Busiest routes

  • M1 and A1 Northbound
  • From London to the North West – M6, M6 Toll
  • A74M and M74 to Scotland
  • M23 to Gatwick Airport and the M11 to Stansted Airport
  • M42 and M5 Southbound towards Wales and the West

In an effort to make Christmas travel as smooth as possible, it is expected that the Highways Agency will lift or suspend many road works across the country over the Christmas period.

Join the discussion in the AA zone


22 December 2008

1Survey based on 72 Point online poll of 2000 people between 28th November – 1st December

2Statistic based on Populus panel survey of 7,380 people between 21st – 28th November