Summer getaway

Busy weekend on the roads as schools break up

22 July 2011

Drivers can expect a 50% increase in journey times on popular routes today and over the weekend as the majority of schools in England and Wales break up for summer, according to AA Roadwatch and traffic information specialist Trafficmaster.

Traffic will build up from Friday lunchtime on the major holiday routes as getaway traffic mixes with commuter traffic. However, although busier than normal, Trafficmaster believes the staggered departure and the ongoing impact of high fuel prices will temper the worst of the jams.

In total, around 14 million cars are expected on the roads with routes to the South-west likely to be the busiest. Congestion is also expected on main routes to the coast, cross-channel ports and major airports.

Top five traffic hotspots

  • A303 from M3 through Hampshire, Wiltshire and Somerset
  • M5 from Almondsbury (M4) to Exeter (J31)
  • M3/M27/A31 from Winchester (J9) to Dorset coast
  • M6 between Junction 11A (M6 Toll), through Staffordshire and Cheshire into Lancashire
  • M25 Western Sector between M1 interchange (Junction 21) and M3 interchange (Junction 12)

(Source: Trafficmaster)

Keith Miller, AA patrol of the year, says: "Allow extra time for your journey and, if you can, avoid travelling at peak times. Carry plenty of drinking water, food and things to keep the children entertained."

Breakdown prevention

Last summer, the AA attended around 820,000 breakdowns and to meet the extra demand, is putting extra patrols on duty and temporarily relocating others to prime holiday hotspots, for example, the South-west.

Keith says: "Even if it's not boiling hot, cars sitting in traffic can quickly overheat, so do the basic checks before you leave, paying particular attention to the cooling system and operation of the cooling fan.

"Although often overlooked, the checks only take a few minutes and do make a difference – preventing up to half of all call-outs – so don't let a breakdown spoil your summer holiday."

'Flower power'

It pays to give your car a good check over every couple of weeks. The acronym 'FLOWER' can help you remember what to check;

Fuel, Lights, Oil, Water, Electrics, and Rubber

Download and print our Flower Power, basic car checks leaflet and keep it in the car to help you remember what to check.

More seasonal driving advice >>