INRIX, a leading provider of traffic information and driver services, has revealed that the Christmas getaway could take drivers up to three times longer than usual.
The majority of Britain’s 35 million vehicles are expected on the roads ahead of the festive season, causing congestion across the UK. According to the latest INRIX data, this year’s Christmas exodus will be busiest between 12pm and 5pm on Friday 20 December when up to 20 million drivers will travel home early from work or head away for the festivities, including many who don’t normally travel at peak times. The south east will be worst hit with congestion on major routes set to be up to four times more severe.
Chris Lambert, UK traffic analyst at INRIX, said: “The M25 will see the worst traffic ahead of the Christmas period – on Friday 20 December, a typical one hour journey clockwise around the western stretch is likely to take three times longer.
“If you must drive on the busiest days our advice is to seek alternative routes. Even if the route is longer it could be less congested – the shortest route isn’t necessarily the fastest. It is vital that drivers plan ahead and use the tools available, such as the INRIX traffic app for journey times and traffic forecasts, or a Garmin portable navigation device, which features INRIX’s real-time traffic.”
Congestion is expected to extend beyond the south east on the 19 and 20 December. Northbound on the M1 will be particularly busy through the East Midlands, adding two hours to a journey from Leicester through Nottinghamshire. The M6 northbound between junctions 4 (M42) and 17 past Sandbach could see delays of up to an hour. The M56 heading to Manchester Airport could also experience congestion with delays of 30 minutes or longer.
The UK’s 12 most congested roads on the 19 and 20 December are listed below:
1. M25 anti-clockwise J21A (M1) to J5 (M26) – up to 2 hour delay
2. M25 clockwise J7 (Reigate) to J23 (A1M) – up to 2 hour delay
3. M1 northbound J21 (Leicester) to J32 (M18) – up to 2 hour delay
4. A4 westbound (White City) to M4 J11 (Reading) – 1 hour delay or longer
5. M6 northbound J4 (M42) to J17 (Sandbach) – up to 1 hour delay
6. M1 southbound J35 (Chapeltown) to J32 (M18) – up to 50 minute delay
7. M25 both directions J31 (West Thurrock) to J3 (M20) – up to 40 minute delay
8. M5 southbound J13 (Stroud) to J18 (M49) – up to 35 minute delay
9. M77 southbound (from M8) to J7 (Fenwick) – up to 35 minute delay
10. A1 northbound (Washington to Seaton Burn in Newcastle) – up to 35 minute delay
11. M56 eastbound J9 (M6) to the M60 – 30 minute delay or longer
12. M1 northbound J1 (A406) to J10A (Luton Airport) – up to 30 minute delay.