Easter travel advice 2013

Easter may turn into a ‘stay at home’ weekend as freezing conditions affect travel plans

Easter may turn into a ‘stay at home’ weekend as freezing conditions affect travel plans

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.

Traffic hotspots

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

Be prepared and informed

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.”

Research summary

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.

Of those who plan to go away by car, they expect to travel:
  • 1-49 miles (22%)
  • 50-99 miles (14%)
  • 100-199 miles (12%)
  • 200-499 miles (6%)
  • 500+ miles (1%)

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.

Where people are driving to over Easter weekend
  • Friends or relatives for the day (37%)
  • Countryside eg. national park (19%)
  • Garden centre (13%)
  • Town or city (12%)
  • Place of interest inland e.g. historic building (11%)
  • Out of town superstore or shopping centre (10%)
  • Going to or from a weekend break or holiday in the UK (9%)
  • DIY store (8%)
  • Sporting event (5%)
  • Cultural event (2%)
  • Theme park (1%)
  • Other (14%)
  • Don’t know (19%)

Easter getaway advice

  • Plan your route in advance
  • Check local traffic and weather reports for your whole journey – call AA Roadwatch on 84322
  • Travel when the roads are quieter
  • Allow plenty of time for the journey
  • Check oil, coolant and windscreen wash levels, lights, tyre pressure (check when tyres are cold and increase pressure for heavy loads if necessary) and tread depth
  • Pack the car safely being careful not to overload or obstruct vision
  • Take the winter essentials and plan car games to keep children comfortable and happy throughout the journey

(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.