DRIVERS are being warned to expect traffic problems this week as the people get away for the bank holiday weekend.
This year’s Whitsun Bank Holiday is likely to be one of the busiest on the roads in recent years as it coincides with the start of half term for many families, according to the AA and traffic information specialist Trafficmaster.
Although the weather presents a potentially mixed picture for the bank holiday weekend, the AA estimates that up to 17 million cars could be on Britain’s roads.
On Friday afternoon and evening, normal commuter traffic will mix with those looking to make an early getaway, while on Saturday drivers can expect some serious congestion in many places as main routes struggle to cope as the rush to holiday hotspots gets under way from about 10am until early afternoon.
The AA’s patrol of the year, Mark Spowage, said: “Whatever the weather, drivers should be prepared for extra traffic and possible delays on major routes to coastal areas and holiday resorts.
"Planning your journey and avoiding the main bottlenecks could relieve the frustration of sitting in a traffic jam.”
“Preparing for your journey is important, especially if your car hasn’t undertaken a long trip for a while.
"Just take 10 minutes extra to check the basics – oil and water levels, tyre pressures – check your handbook to see whether you need to increase pressures if you have a heavy load – and top up the windscreen washer.”
According to Trafficmaster, the busiest roads are likely to be:
• M25: All sections, but especially both ways between Junctions 12 (M3 interchange) and 17 (M40 interchange) around Heathrow Airport and M4 interchange, and also both ways around the Dartford River Crossing (Junction 31-Junction 2)
• M1: Between Junction 6A (M25) and Junction 13 (Milton Keynes), also between Junction 25 (Nottingham/Derby) and Junction 31 (M18).
• M6 Both ways through the West Midlands between Junction 4A and Junction 11A, then also both ways between Junction 14 (Stafford) and Junction 21A (M62 interchange).
• M5: Whole length south-westbound, but especially from M6 interchange to Junction 8 (M50), and from Junction 15 (M4 interchange) to Junction 31 (Exeter).
• A303: Westwards from M3 Junction 8 through Hampshire, Wiltshire and Somerset to A30 at Upottery.
• M3: From Junction 2 (M25 interchange) to Junction 6 (Basingstoke) and from Junction 9 (Winchester) to M27 interchange.
• M27 and A31: From M27 Junction 4 (M3 interchange) westwards to A31 at Junction 1 then onwards to the Dorset coast.
• A11 North-eastwards from Newmarket Bypass through Elveden towards Norwich and the Norfolk coast.
• A30 and A38 westwards from Exeter into Cornwall
• M4 westwards from Junction 1 (Chiswick) to Junction 13 (Chieveley & Newbury) and also from Junction 20 (M32) to Severn Crossing and South Wales.
Mr Spowage added: “The roads are likely to be extremely busy and it could take a lot longer to get to your destination than you expect.
“As the bank holiday coincides with the start of half term; many people will have taken the whole week off and be looking to get away for a break to get their summer off to a great start."