14 April 2020
A review of more than 15,000 daily cars journeys has established a pattern of travel during the coronavirus lockdown that sees weekday journeys at around 60% lower, falling another 10% on Saturdays and then heading towards the 80% down on Sundays.
The Easter period saw a 10% increase on the Thursday and then journeys holding at around two fifths of the pre-lockdown period. Although the sunny weather will have tempted more people into their cars, it is thought pre-Easter food shopping probably accounted for most of the elevated levels.
But, on Easter Sunday, car trips dropped to their lowest level yet and Easter Monday travel barely added another 10%.
The AA analysis of car journeys with insight into the impending technical difficulties that may leave AA members’ cars breaking down at home or the roadside, has revealed this for the lockdown period:
Empty motorways were testament to car owners heeding government advice and not taking a holiday from the lockdown
“For the most part, families and car drivers respected the lockdown and didn’t revert to the usual Easter exodus, travelling to see friends or out into the country for exercise,” says Edmund King, the AA’s president.
“Empty motorways were testament to car owners heeding government advice and not taking a holiday from the lockdown.
“Overall, we expected some increase in car journeys after the initial collapse as essential workers and volunteers took to the road again. However, the AA thinks that measures, such as police clamping down on cars parked at beauty spots away from where people live, may keep car journeys at their current low level for a while yet.
“Police have also said that although the roads are quieter, they have seen some excessive speeding. There is no excuse for speeding even if the roads and motorways are almost empty. Speeding has led to several crashes over the last few days which ties up the resources of the emergency services, the NHS and potentially takes up precious hospital beds.”