Easter getaway 2012

Main getaway traffic expected Maundy Thursday (5 April)

30 March 2012

This Easter isn’t likely to be as busy as last year on the roads

This Easter isn’t likely to be as busy as last year on the roads

With possible fuel strike action ruled out over Easter, any lingering concern over fuel is unlikely to deter many people from travelling this Easter.

However, with most schools breaking up on Friday 30 March, this Easter isn’t likely to be as busy as last year on the roads with getaway traffic spread over the coming week and peaking on Maundy Thursday (5 April) according to traffic information specialist Trafficmaster.

The latest AA/Populus poll of 20,161 AA members* (most surveyed before the current fuel situation) shows that 93 per cent of respondents are planning to stay in the UK over the Easter weekend (6-9 April) with up to around half (54%) likely to drive somewhere.

Just refuel as normal, keeping at least a quarter of a tank in your car in case of traffic delays or if you’re travelling in an unfamiliar area

Keith Miller, AA patrol of the year

Keith Miller, AA patrol of the year, says: “Until fuel strike action is completely ruled out, some people will remain concerned about supplies. However, people heading off should just refuel as normal, keeping at least a quarter of a tank in your car in case of traffic delays or if you’re travelling in an unfamiliar area.”

AA/Populus research summary

Easter weekend (6-9 April)

  • Up to 54% of respondents are likely to drive somewhere over the Easter weekend: 22% already plan to drive somewhere by car; and 32% are unsure but if they go somewhere, they will likely drive.
  • Drivers in Northern Ireland (63%) are most likely to be hitting the road, followed by those in Yorkshire & Humberside and North-east (57%), while only 51% of Scots are likely to drive somewhere this Easter.
  • 39% of panellists do not plan to travel; and 6% are going away but not by car.
  • 93% of respondents plan to stay in the UK for Easter; only 1% will be travelling abroad by car; and 4% plan to go abroad but not by car.
  • Respondents in Yorkshire & Humberside (95%) are most likely to stay in the UK over Easter, while the Northern Irish (89% staying at home) are most likely to be packing their bags for an overseas trip.

Where are you driving?

Of those driving over Easter, the most popular destinations are:

  • Friends or relatives (45%)
  • Countryside eg. national park (33%)
  • Place of interest inland eg. historic building (21%)
  • Garden centre (19%)
  • Town or city (18%)
  • Going to or from a weekend break or holiday in the UK (18%)
  • Out of town superstore or shopping centre (15%)
  • DIY store (12%)
  • Sporting event (6%)
  • Cultural event (4%)
  • Theme park (3%)

Remember to do all the basic checks on your car and adjust tyre pressures accordingly if you’re carrying a heavy load

Keith Miller, AA patrol of the year

Preparing for the getaway

Keith Miller says: “For many people, Easter is the first long-distance car journey since Christmas, so any underlying problems can soon become apparent. Remember to do all the basic checks on your car and adjust tyre pressures accordingly if you’re carrying a heavy load.

“Although traffic may not be as bad this year, Easter is always a pretty busy time on the roads, so allow extra time for your journey, take things to keep the kids entertained and plan in some stops along the way. AA members can now fill up their family for less at M&S outlets at Moto service areas**.”

Traffic hotspots

According to Trafficmaster, these are likely to be the main Easter traffic hotspots:

London and South East

  • M25 Western Sector between Junction 21 (M1) and Junction 12 (M3) – especially around Junctions 14/15 (Heathrow Airport and M4).
  • M25 Eastern Sector between Junction 27 (M11) and Junction 2 (A2) – especially around the Dartford River Crossing.
  • M3 between Junction 2 (M25) and Junction 8 (A303)
  • M1 between Junction 6A (M25) and Junction 13 (Milton Keynes) – especially through the section of major roadworks between Junction 10 (Luton) and Junction 13 (Milton Keynes).
  • M3/M27 and A31 from M3 Junction 10 (Winchester) to A31 at Ringwood and onwards to the Dorset coast.
  • A34 between M40 Junction 9, via Oxford Western Bypass, to Abington; also between Sutton Scotney and M3 Junction 10 at Winchester.
  • M4 between Junction 1 (Chiswick) and Junction 13 (Newbury).
  • M20, A20 and A2 around Folkestone and Dover for Channel crossing points – especially in the event of bad weather or other disruption of Cross-Channel services.

South West

  • M4 between Junction 19 (M32 to & from Bristol) and Severn Crossings
  • M5 between Junction 15 (M4 at Almondsbury) and Junction 31 (Exeter)
  • A303 between M3 at Dummer and A30 at Upottery.
  • A30 between Exeter and Cornwall
  • A38 between Exeter and Bodmin

South Wales

  • M4 between Severn Crossing, Newport and Cardiff.

East Midlands

  • M1 between Junction 25 (Nottingham/Derby) and Junction 32 (M18)
  • A1 between Grantham, Newark and A1M at Blyth (Notts.)

West Midlands

  • M6 between Junction 4A (M42) and Junction 11A (M6 Toll)
  • M5 between M6 interchange and Junction 4A (M42 interchange), also between Junction 11 (Cheltenham/Gloucester) and Junction 15 (M4 at Almondsbury)

East Anglia

  • A11 around Elveden Cross Roads
  • A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon
  • A47 between Peterborough, Wisbech, Kings Lynn, Norwich and Great Yarmouth

North Midlands and North West

  • M6 between Junction 15 (Stoke-on-Trent) and Junction 30 (Preston Bypass), especially around Stoke-on-Trent and Junctions 20/21A (M56 and M62 interchanges).
  • M55 into Blackpool
  • M60 between Junction 12 (M62) and Junction 19 (M62/M66)

Yorkshire and North East

  • A1/A1M between M1 at Aberford and A66 at Scotch Corner.
  • A64 between Leeds, York and Scarborough.
  • York is also the venue of the Royal Maundy money service for 2012; there will be restrictions and road closures within the City, around York Minster throughout the day on Maundy Thursday

(30 March 2012)


* Source: an AA/Populus online poll of 20,161 AA members conducted between 22-28 March 2012. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

** For April 2012 only, AA members can save 10% at M&S Food outlets at Moto service areas on production of their valid AA membership card. This is in addition to the ongoing 20% discount for AA members on all food and drink in Eat & Drink Co, Costa, Moto Shop and Burger King at Moto service areas.