Around the same time each year drivers are warned to prepare themselves for what is known as ‘the great summer getaway’. Even though the date varies each year, it is always the Friday after schools break up for the summer that it starts, as thousands of Brits embark on their holidays. This means that roads, public transport and airports see an influx in travellers and therefore traffic and waiting times increase considerably.
This week motoring organisations have warned drivers that on Friday 25th July there will be a substantial increase in the amount of traffic on the roads. They have claimed that between 2pm and 6pm there will be around twenty per cent more traffic and up to fifty thousand commuters will be affected each hour. Chris Lambert, INRIX Traffic Expert, said: “On Friday 25th July, although the morning rush hour will be noticeably lighter than usual, that won’t last for long. By about 11am, traffic levels will already be starting to rise and they’ll peak between 4pm and 5pm with congestion nearly 20% higher than you would find even on a normal Friday afternoon.”
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, added: “The biggest seasonal changes in traffic are routinely seen on routes to the West Country, but even those families leaving the capital for overseas holidays should beware congestion on the roads that could delay them getting to the major air and seaports. There is rarely a quiet time on the M25 and drivers should allow extra time to negotiate usual trouble spots including the Surrey section of the motorway and the approaches to the Dartford Crossing.”
Motorists have also been warned that between August the 23rd and 31st there will be no First Capital Connect or Southern train services stopping at London Bridge station due to major reconstruction work, which means even more people will take to the roads. Furthermore, the West Coast Mainline will shut for three weekends in August due to engineering work at Watford. Jim Syddall, acting route managing director for Network Rail, said: “The section of track at Watford is one of the most intensively used, high-speed pieces of railway in Britain and has seen tremendous growth in traffic and passengers over the last five years.
“There is never a good time to close the railway and we apologise for the inconvenience caused but this work is essential to maintain reliable train services for the millions of passengers who travel on this route every year. We have worked with all our industry partners to provide passengers with information in advance and will continue to during the work to minimise disruption as much as possible.”
Even if you are planning on taking a train to the airport or a holiday destination in the UK, it is still likely that you will need to factor in traffic on the roads on the way to the train station as well as limited parking. Therefore, motorists are advised to leave plenty of time when it comes to travelling to stations or airports, especially Gatwick and Heathrow. Unfortunately, with so many motorists on the roads the chance of being involved in an accident increases, and if you are involved in an accident you will have to spend time swapping contact details and information concerning your car insurance.
Traffic will also be an issue not only in the UK but in other countries such as France and Spain where thousands of tourists flock each year. If you are trying to save money by driving to the continent instead of taking a plane you should keep in mind that fuel prices differ in certain countries and that prices at motorway service stations are generally much higher than anywhere else. To avoid paying over the odds it is therefore wise to plan where and when you will stop for fuel in advance.
Most people view their summer holidays as a time for relaxation, however with traffic on roads expected to be so substantial there may be an element of stress involved getting to your destination. Before you set off it is therefore advisable to check local traffic reports, pack light refreshments and ensure you have more than enough fuel for your journey.