Easter may turn into a ‘stay at home’ weekend as freezing conditions affect travel plans
Easter may turn into a ‘stay at home’ weekend for many as the freezing conditions affect travel plans, says the AA.
Even before the extent of the current cold snap was known, the latest AA/Populus poll of 19,543 AA members* revealed that 36% of respondents said they will not travel this Easter weekend (29 March-1 April) and almost a third (32%) will decide at the last minute. In light of the cold weather, the AA expects many will remain at home or even arrange a last-minute break abroad.
Overall, 58% of AA members may drive this Easter weekend (26% already plan to drive; and 32% unsure but likely to drive). This could mean up to 17 million cars on the roads for a holiday or outing, depending on the weather.
The Northern Irish (70%) are most likely to drive over the Easter weekend, followed by those in Yorkshire & Humberside (61%) and East Midlands (60%), compared to only 52 per cent of Scots.
The main getaway periods will be Thursday afternoon and Good Friday morning, extending through until Saturday. According to Trafficmaster, the top five busiest stretches are likely to be:
M25 - all sections, especially both ways around J14/17 (Heathrow Airport and M4, M40 interchanges)
M1 - from Junction 6A (M25 interchange) to Junction 13; and from Junction 23A to Junction 32 (M18)
M6 - through West Midlands (from Junction 4A) and northwards towards Lancashire (Junction 21A)
M4 - from London towards Bristol and M5 interchange
A34 - from M40/J9 and Oxford to M4/J13 and Newbury
Easter Sunday (31 March) is generally one of the quietest days on the roads and next week will see lighter traffic than usual due to the ongoing school holidays.
In light of current weather conditions, check the travel reports for your whole journey as conditions can quickly change
Andy Smith, AA patrol of the year
Andy Smith, AA patrol of the year, says: “As Easter is the first bank holiday of the year, it’s normally one of the busiest periods on the roads but we expect many will choose to stay at home this year due to the cold weather.
“If you’re driving, do all the basic checks on your car and adjust tyre pressures accordingly if you’re carrying a heavy load.
“In light of current weather conditions, check the travel reports for your whole journey as conditions can quickly change. As a minimum, carry plenty of warm clothing, food, drink, fully-charged mobile, things to keep the kids entertained and break up any journey more than three hours long.”
Easter weekend (29 March-1 April)
Up to 58% of respondents may drive somewhere on holiday or on an outing over the Easter weekend - 26% already plan to drive somewhere, and 32% are unsure but if they go somewhere, they will likely drive.
Drivers in Northern Ireland (70%) are most likely to be hitting the road, followed by those in Yorkshire & Humberside (61%) and East Midlands (60%), while only 52% of Scots will probably drive somewhere on holiday or on an outing over the Easter weekend.
36% of panellists do not plan to travel, and 5% are going away but not by car
94% of respondents plan to stay in the UK for Easter - only 1% will be travelling abroad by car, and 3% plan to go abroad but not by car.
Respondents in the North East (96%) 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.
(27 March 2013)
* Source: Populus interviewed 19,543 adults aged 18+ on The AA/Populus online panel between 15-22 March 2013. Populus www.populus.co.uk is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.