Driving Home for Christmas

Festive traffic hotspots

This Friday, 22 December, will see the annual Christmas getaway start in earnest, as people across the UK head home to celebrate with their nearest and dearest. And, with new research from the AA revealing that over half of us, (55%) plan to hit the roads during the festive period, the UK's largest breakdown organisation is on hand to help motorists avoid losing their Christmas cheer in traffic jams and on hard shoulders nationwide.

Traffic black spots

To make sure that motorists swap car horns for jingle bells this weekend, the AA has used data from its route planner to identify ten of the UK's most troublesome Christmas traffic black spots, based on the website's most searched for travel destinations during the festive month.

Route planner, which issues around 2 million directions at this time of year, rated London as the number one destination with close to 330,000 searches, while Manchester ranked second with more than 83,000 searches. Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow also featured in the top ten motorists heading for these bright light cities are urged to allow extra time and take necessary provisions with them.

Breakdown risk

Steve Dewey, AA Road Operations Director, comments: "While we're not expecting a white Christmas, heavily loaded vehicles and long journeys teamed with cold and wet weather, can significantly increase the risk of a breakdown.

Extra time

"We would encourage motorists to plan their journeys carefully, allowing plenty of rest stops and extra time for the traffic. Five minutes spent checking your car can prevent problems from arising and it's a good idea to keep it fairly full of fuel, as you never know when you might get caught up in an accident or foul weather."

Be prepared

Dewey continues: "Carry some warm clothing, waterproofs, food, water, ice scraper, de-icer, blanket, warning triangle, torch, map and importantly, a fully-charged mobile. Let your friends or family know your estimated arrival time and check local weather and traffic reports before departing."

Renowned for its level of service, the AA will have extra patrols on duty to cover the Christmas period for those unfortunate enough to experience a breakdown. And, in the spirit of Christmas, patrols on selected routes are adding mince pies to their toolkits, to bring some festive cheer to even the most 'bah humbug' of motorists.

Top ten christmas destinations

  1. London
  2. Manchester
  3. Birmingham
  4. Bristol
  5. Glasgow
  6. Nottingham
  7. Leeds
  8. Reading
  9. Southampton
  10. Cardiff

More winter driving advice

Breakdown advice

Notes to Editors

ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1006 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 1-3 December 2006. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.icmresearch.co.uk

  • Twenty-six roadworks have been suspended nationwide on motorways and trunk roads for Christmas and New Year according to the Highways agency.
  • Twenty-two sets of roadworks have already been completed before Christmas and new roadworks, except emergencies, will not start until after the Christmas period.


20 December 2006