Summer getaway

travel advice at the start of the school summer holidays

20 July 2012

Traffic is expected to build up on the major ‘getaway’ routes from mid-afternoon today

Traffic is expected to build up on the major ‘getaway’ routes from mid-afternoon today

Traffic is expected to build up on the major ‘getaway’ routes from mid-afternoon today, as families head off at the start of the school summer holidays in England and Wales, according to AA Roadwatch and traffic information specialist Trafficmaster.

Routes to the South-west are likely to be the busiest and congestion is also expected on main routes to the coast, cross-channel ports and major airports. However, although busier than normal, Trafficmaster believes the staggered departure will temper the worst of the jams.

Top five congestion hotspots

(According to Trafficmaster)

  • 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)

Games traffic

Next week (23-27 July) Trafficmaster expects that regular commuter traffic will be substantially reduced but traffic around Greater London will be increasingly affected by the final preparations for the Olympic Games. In particular, the Eastern Sector of the M25 around the Dartford River Crossing will be handling some traffic diverted from the usual Blackwall Tunnel (A102) river crossing.

Andy Smith, AA patrol of the year, advises: “Try to avoid travelling at peak times but, if you have no choice, allow extra time for your journey and plan some stops for the kids. Take things to keep them entertained and plenty of food and water.”

Holiday plans

The latest AA/Populus poll of 20,261 AA members shows that a quarter of respondents will not drive as far for their main holiday this year compared to last with Londoners, Scots and those in the North-west (all 27%) more likely to cut back the mileage.

Around a fifth (19%) say they will drive further this year, particularly the Northern Irish (22%).

Although they may not be racking up as many miles, marginally more AA members say they will spend more (27%) than less (25%) on their main holiday this year compared to 2011.

The not-so-thrifty Scots are more likely to be splashing the cash (29% spending more) while those in the East Midlands are more likely to be watching the pennies (28% spending less).

After a washed-out summer, it may be no surprise that 42 per cent will be holidaying abroad; 35 per cent staying in the UK; and around a fifth (19%) say they won’t go on holiday this year.

Londoners (48%) are most likely to be heading overseas and the Welsh (25%) most likely to forgo a holiday.

Breakdown prevention

Last summer, the AA alone attended around 800,000 breakdowns and the UK’s biggest breakdown provider will have extra patrols on duty and has temporarily relocating some to prime holiday hotspots, for example, the South-west.

Andy Smith says: “In slow-moving summer traffic, overheating can be a problem, so do the basic checks before departing, paying particular attention to the cooling system and operation of the cooling fan.”

(20 July 2012)

*Source: an AA/Populus online poll of 20,261 AA members conducted between 21-28 June 2012