Motorway Journey Times To Double Over Christmas
Friday 19th, Tuesday 23rd and Saturday 27th December set to be busiest days on UK roads
Journeys on some roads will take more than twice as long this Christmas compared to other times of the year, according to data from INRIX®, Inc., a leading global provider of transportation information, analytics and driver services for the connected car and smart cities worldwide.
The busiest days on the roads will be Friday 19th, Tuesday 23rd and Saturday 27th December with the majority of Britain’s 35 million1 vehicles expected to take to the UK’s roads ahead of the festive season. Friday 19th will see the worst of the delays, which will peak at around 4pm as Christmas traffic combines with the usual Friday evening peak period. There could be up to 20 million2 cars on the road throughout Friday afternoon as drivers leave work early or set off to spend the festive season away from home. Traffic on Tuesday 23rd will peak at around 12pm, and after the normal quieter period of Christmas Day and Boxing Day, traffic will pick up again on Saturday 27th December as drivers head home after spending Christmas away, return to work or go shopping.
The worst affected roads will be major motorways, including the M1, M25 and M6, with a 60-mile section of the M1 northbound extending the normal 60-minute journey time by an extra 1 hour and 25 minutes. The longest delays will be found on the M25 anti-clockwise, where the usual 40-minute trip between junction 23 and junction 10 will take around 2 hours and 20 minutes.
During peak periods, average speeds are predicted to fall to just 14 miles per hour on the M56 eastbound where it joins the M6 outside Manchester (junction 9), and the M5 northbound at junction 3 where it joins the M6 (Halesowen and Birmingham).
Greg Hallsworth, lead scientist and traffic analyst, INRIX, comments: “Drivers would be well advised to steer clear of driving in the afternoon of Friday 19th December as this will be the busiest period on the roads this Christmas. There will be significant delays between 12pm and 6pm caused by a combination of the usual Friday evening post-work peak, the start of English school holidays and people driving home for Christmas.
Hallsworth offers the following advice to drivers looking to beat the traffic: “Where possible, drivers should look for alternative routes to avoid the busiest roads, and travel outside of peak times. It’s worth bearing in mind that the shortest route isn’t necessarily the quickest and that drivers’ normal routes may be worse hit by Christmas traffic than other roads, so drivers should check live traffic data before setting off and during the journey to keep an eye on changing conditions. Adverse weather can also have a significant impact on congestion, so check the forecast when planning a trip and try to avoid wet or especially cold periods.”