Easter travel advice 2014

This Easter is likely to be one of the busiest on the roads in recent years

This Easter is likely to be one of the busiest on the roads in recent years

This Easter is likely to be one of the busiest on the roads in recent years

This Easter is likely to be one of the busiest on the roads in recent years with mild weather replacing the snow and ice of last year, says the AA and traffic information specialist Trafficmaster.

With the Easter holiday falling late this year, Trafficmaster expects getaway traffic to pick up from this Friday afternoon (11 April) as many take the week before Easter as holiday.

The latest AA-Populus poll of 23,911 AA members* revealed that more than half (55%) of respondents may drive over the Easter weekend (19% already plan to drive; and 37% unsure but likely to drive). This could mean around 16 million cars on the roads for a holiday or outing.

  • 55% of AA members may drive on holiday or outing over Easter weekend
  • Around 16 million cars on leisure trips
  • Routes to the South-west likely to be the busiest
  • Busiest periods for getaway traffic expected to be this Friday and Saturday (11-12 April) and Maundy Thursday (17 April)
  • Northern Irish most likely to be hitting the road; and the Scots least likely to drive

Regional

The Northern Irish (62%) are most likely to drive over the Easter weekend (18-21 April), followed by those in Yorkshire & Humberside (60%), compared to only half (50%) of Scots.

How far?

Those spending Easter away from home will drive an average of 148 miles, increasing to 160 miles for those aged 18-24.

Where?

Visiting family or friends is the most common activity (45%), particularly for those in London and South-east England (52%).

With the weather set to be mild, visiting the countryside (33%) is a popular option and those in South-east England (23%) are the most green-fingered with around a quarter (23%) visiting a garden centre, followed by those in the West Midlands (21%).

Busiest day so far this year

Getaway traffic is expected to be significant this Friday and Saturday (11-12 April). Congestion will peak on Maundy Thursday (17 April), predicted by Trafficmaster to be the busiest day on the roads so far this year.

Hotspots

According to Trafficmaster, the top five busiest stretches are likely to be:

  • A303 - Westbound from M3/J8 through Hampshire, Wiltshire and Somerset
  • M1 - From Junction 6A (M25 interchange) to Junction 13; and from Junction 23A to Junction 32 (M18)
  • M5 - From Junction 15 (Almondsbury) towards Junction 31 (Exeter for West Country)
  • M6 - Through West Midlands (from Junction 4A) and northwards towards Lancashire (Junction 21A)
  • M25 - All sections, especially both ways around J14/17 (Heathrow Airport and M4, M40 interchanges)

Easter Sunday (20 April) is generally one of the quietest days on the roads and Easter Monday (21 April) will see heavy homebound traffic from lunchtime onwards, as many schools resume the following day.

While mild weather has thankfully replaced the snow and ice of last Easter, it doesn’t mean drivers should be any less prepared

Tony Rich, AA patrol of the year

Getaway advice

Tony Rich, AA breakdown patrol of the year, says: “While mild weather has thankfully replaced the snow and ice of last Easter, it doesn’t mean drivers should be any less prepared.

“It’s going to be busy at times on the roads and, for some people, will be their first long-distance car journey of the year, which can reveal any underlying mechanical problems.

“Do the essential checks on your car before heading off, paying particular attention to the tyres and adjusting the pressures for a heavy load, if required.

Break up any journey more than three hours long and, if you’re an AA member, you save up to 20 per cent at Moto service areas. Take plenty of things to keep the kids entertained and, at the very least, a fully-charged mobile and atlas or sat-nav in case of any delays.”

Over the Easter period, the AA will have a fifth more patrols than normal on duty to deal with the higher breakdown workload.


(9 April 2014)

* Source: Populus interviewed 23,911 adults aged 18+ on The AA-Populus online panel between 17-24 March 2014. Populus www.populus.co.uk is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.