27 March 2018
With Easter falling early this year and a longer wait until summer, this bank holiday weekend is likely to be one of the busiest on the roads in recent years, says the AA.
The latest AA-Populus poll of 20,435 AA members* revealed that more than four fifths (81%) of respondents plan to drive somewhere on holiday or an outing over the Easter weekend – equating to nearly 26 million UK drivers embarking on road trips.
- Bank holiday traffic will peak on Saturday (31 March), with two thirds (66%) planning a car journey.
- Easter Sunday will be the quietest single day, but will still see 55% (around 17.6 million drivers) heading out on the road.
- Most drivers (45%) will take the opportunity to visit family or friends over the long weekend (42% men vs 50% women).
And with the threat of more bad weather looming, many are seeking indoor activities, with a quarter of men and more than a fifth (21%) of women planning a visit to an out of town superstore or shopping centre.
Family road trips
To help families plan the perfect road trip, the AA has released the top ways to keep the kids entertained during a long car journey – as stated by parents.
A survey of 5,621 AA members who have made long car journeys with young children in the past 12 months found it is the perfect time to catch up, as talking is still the most popular activity for families travelling with children under 10.
Nearly two thirds (65%) of drivers keep the kids occupied with conversation and more than half (51%) with traditional car games like I Spy and the number plate game.
And surprisingly, electronic devices didn’t make the top five – with sweets and snacks, sing-a-longs, books and toys taking preference.
Edmund King, AA president, said: “The car is the perfect bubble for families to really talk and enjoy some quality time together. With fewer distractions and the fact that the kids are belted up in the back, many find their children tend to open up more on the road than they do at home. This can be very precious time for both parents and children.
The car is the perfect bubble for families to really talk and enjoy some quality time together
“It’s heart-warming to see that a good chat, followed by the traditional car games we all played as children, are still firm favourites for family road trips. It goes to show that despite the latest technology, there’s little that can beat sharing sweets and belting out your favourite songs.”
Vince Crane, AA Patrol of the Year, gives his top tips on preparing for the journey.
Check your car: “With the Easter weekend being the first opportunity of the year for some real family fun, it’s tempting to throw the bags in the boot and get going. But whether you’re visiting family or indulging in some retail therapy, it’s important to prepare your car for the journey before heading off.
Allow plenty of extra time for the journey as the roads will be busy. Check your route on AA route planner before you go and try to travel when it’s quieter – early morning or later evening are best if you want to beat the rush.
“A few simple checks could stop car trouble from interrupting your plans so it’s well worth taking ten minutes to check your oil, coolant and windscreen wash levels. Ensure you have plenty of fuel in case of long delays and check all the lights are working. Last but not least, check the tyre pressures (check when tyres are cold and increase pressure for heavy loads if necessary) and tread depth – not forgetting the spare if you have one and any caravan or trailer – before hitting the road.”
Pack the essentials: “As well as your snacks and road trip playlist, pack some must-haves for long journeys like a sat-nav or atlas, a fully charged mobile phone and any time-dependent medication in case of delays. And with the Met Office signalling the possibility of a return of the Beast from the East, don’t take your winter emergency kit out of the car just yet – that snow shovel may still come in handy!”
Plan your route: “Allow plenty of extra time for the journey as the roads will be busy. Check your route on AA route planner before you go and try to travel when it’s quieter – early morning or later evening are best if you want to beat the rush.”
The AA advises breaking up any journey more than three hours long and nearly two fifths (37%) of families say they stop a few times on a long journey so the children can let off steam.
Those stopping for a break at Moto service stations can enjoy 20 per cent off food and drink and 10% off Moto M&S with their AA membership card.
AA members can also plot their route using the free AA app, which can also be used to find the cheapest fuel nearby, report a breakdown and get exclusive discounts at thousands of family restaurants and pubs.
* Populus received 20,435 responses from AA members to its online poll between 13 and 20 March 2018. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.