INRIX, a leading provider of traffic information and driver services, has released data to show that UK drivers should avoid travelling on Saturdays when heading off on holiday this summer.
The data shows that traffic levels will start to peak on Friday (25 July) – the first day of the school holidays. While the morning will be quieter than usual, traffic levels will start to rise around midday and by 4pm, drivers in the most congested areas can expect at least 50% extra time added to their journeys in queues.
With foreign holidays as popular as ever, travellers heading to major travel hubs such as Heathrow, Gatwick and Dover on Friday 25 July could face lengthy delays, with the hour journey from the M25 to the Port of Dover taking over 90 minutes. For those travelling on Saturday 26 July, by 12pm drivers in the south east will experience traffic levels typically only seen on weekdays. Drivers can expect every subsequent Saturday up to and including 23 August to be up to 25% busier than during non-holiday periods. The busiest Saturday will be 9 August.
Whilst savvy travellers will try to make their holiday journeys midweek to save money on flights and ferries and avoid getting caught in lengthy queues on the roads, many will still find they are restricted by the traditional “Saturday to Saturday” rule of holiday lets both at home and abroad. Combined with weekend day-trippers, Saturdays will bear the brunt of the traffic.
“With more cars on the UK’s roads than ever before, the unwary traveller could face many hours stuck in queues with the potential for missed flights or ferries – a nightmare start to any holiday,” said Chris Lambert, UK traffic expert at INRIX. “Foreign holidays boost traffic levels as holidaymakers travel to ports and airports, and more Brits are going to be squeezing in a ‘staycation’ in the UK, with many choosing to drive to their holiday destination.
“Summer Saturday traffic can be far busier than even the very worst weekday rush hour, which shows the scale of the problem facing drivers this summer. Drivers should plan their journeys carefully and make them at the quietest times of day. If you really have to travel at the busiest times, our advice is to seek routes that are a little off the beaten path. Drivers should remember that the shortest route isn’t necessarily the fastest.”