10 April 2019
With Easter falling late this year, the bank holiday weekend is likely to be busy as families hit the road for a long-awaited break.
The latest AA-Populus poll of 20,778 AA members* revealed that three quarters (75%) of respondents plan to drive somewhere on holiday or an outing over the Easter weekend – equating to around 24 million UK drivers embarking on road trips.
But with many households feeling the pinch it will be quieter on the roads than last Easter, with fewer drivers planning to venture out (81% Easter 2018 vs 75% Easter 2019).
Bank holiday traffic will peak on Saturday (20 April), with nearly two thirds (61%) planning a journey by car. Easter Sunday and Monday will be comparatively quieter but will still see 53% respectively (around 17 million drivers) heading out on the road.
George Flinton, AA Patrol of the Year, says: “Despite fewer people planning to get away than last Easter, there will still be a lot of pressure on major routes, particularly motorways and routes to coastal regions and channel ports. Expect delays and allow plenty of extra time for your journey, particularly if you have a ferry to catch.”
Escape to the country
As the first major getaway of the year, many drivers (31%) will take the opportunity to visit family or friends over the long weekend (36% of women vs 28% of men). But planned visits to loved ones have significantly dropped against last year, when 37% said they intended travel to spend time with friends and family.
In contrast, with a late Easter bringing hopes of spring weather, the number of drivers planning an escape to the country or coast has risen slightly. With the north expected to see a brighter forecast, more than half (52%) of drivers in the region will be heading to local beauty spots vs just 42% in the south**.
George Flinton, AA Patrol of the Year, gives his top tips on preparing for the journey.
Check your car: “For some, the Easter bank holiday weekend will bring their first long-distance car journey of the year, which can reveal any underlying mechanical problems. Although it’s tempting to throw the bags in the boot and get going, doing the essential checks on your car can help avoid a breakdown derailing your plans so before you set off, take ten minutes to check your oil, coolant and windscreen wash levels.
“Keep your fuel tank at least a quarter full in case of long delays and check all the lights are working. Finally, 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.”
Pack the essentials: “As well as snacks and entertainment, 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.”
Plan your route: “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.”
"Although it’s tempting to throw the bags in the boot and get going, doing the essential checks on your car can help avoid a breakdown"
The AA advises breaking up any journey more than three hours long. 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.
Members can 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.