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13 April 2011
What to expect this weekend:
The Easter break is expected to be one of the busiest on the roads for several years, as millions take advantage of the quadruple bank holiday period, according to AA Roadwatch and traffic information specialist Trafficmaster.
Despite the weather forecast to turn more seasonal over the coming days, the unprecedented four bank holidays in close proximity combined with the 'long haul' since the Christmas/New Year break (which saw many holiday plans disrupted by the bad weather), will encourage many to take a long break.
Results from the latest* AA/Populus poll show that 85% are planning to stay in the UK during the bank holiday period, helped by the continuing uncertainty over foreign holidays due to the unsettled political situations in North Africa and the Middle East and the threatened airline strike. Our research shows that Easter will be the busier of the two bank holiday weekends, as the schools are still out. Despite the record cost of fuel, a third of drivers – or around 10 million vehicles – plan to go away by car then. Combined with an estimated 8 million day/leisure trips this means there will be more than 18 million cars on the roads over Easter. One-in-four – or around 8 million cars – plan to go away by car over the Royal Wedding weekend. Combined with an estimated 6 million day/leisure trips this means there will be more than 14 million cars on the roads over this weekend.
Although traffic will be very heavy on major routes over the Easter weekend, as Easter falls at the end of the school holiday, it will be more of a staggered getaway.
Roads to airports and ports will be busy too as around one-in-eight (12%) will travel abroad over Easter with slightly fewer (11%) going overseas over Royal Wedding weekend.
A third (33%) are planning to go away by car during the Easter bank holiday weekend:
Drivers in Northern Ireland (44%) are most likely to be hitting the road, followed by those in the East Midlands (37%), while the Scots (61%) are most likely to stay at home this Easter.
56% don't currently plan to go away during this period and 5% are going away but not by car.
85% plan to stay in the UK for the Easter bank holiday.
3% will be travelling abroad by car and 9% planning to go abroad but not by car.
A quarter (25%) of respondents plan to go away over the Royal Wedding/Early May bank holiday weekend by car (around 8 million vehicles):
Drivers in Northern Ireland (33%) are again most likely to be hitting the road over the Royal Wedding weekend, followed by those in the North-east (28%), while the Scots (66%) are again most likely to stay at home.
62% don't currently plan to go away during this period; and 5% are going away but will be using other means of transport.
85% will be staying in the UK for the Royal Wedding/Early May bank holiday (same response as for Easter).
2% will be going abroad by car and 9% are planning to go abroad but not by car.
Previous AA/Populus research has shown that motorists are cutting back on servicing as household budgets tighten and this is having a knock-on effect with MOT failure rates rising around 14% during the recession**.
Paul Leather says: "Easter is often the first long-distance car journey since Christmas, so any underlying problems can soon become apparent. Although money is tight, it's simply not worth putting you and your family at potential risk by having a breakdown, so check your car over thoroughly and get any problems fixed."
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***.
While many of the main motorways and long-distance trunk roads are likely to be busier than usual, expect very heavy holiday traffic on the following routes to and from:
Most restrictions for roadworks will be lifted during the Easter, Royal Wedding/Early May bank holiday period but are likely to continue until Maundy Thursday (21 April). Restrictions for major roadworks cannot be removed but will be amended to minimise disruption during the holiday period. This affects:
*Source: an AA/Populus online poll of 12,869 AA members conducted between 17-25 March 2011. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
**Source: MOT failure rates for private cars, Dept for Transport, Transport Stats GB
***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. Calls cost up to 65p per minute at all times. Mobile rates vary.