Best times to travel revealed as Brits face worst weekend of travel amid RAC’s holiday chaos warning

THE best times for people to hit the roads has been revealed after the RAC issued a warning about holiday chaos in many parts of the UK.

The motoring organisation said an estimated 18.8million leisure trips are planned in the UK between Friday and Monday.


Drivers on the M11 near Cambridge were stuck in tailbacks in both directionsCredit: Bav Media
The RAC has provided a map of the major traffic pinch points to look out for this weekend


The RAC has provided a map of the major traffic pinch points to look out for this weekendCredit: INRIX Via RAC
There are currently huge delays at the Port of Dover


There are currently huge delays at the Port of DoverCredit: Chris Eades
Heavy traffic has been seen on the M25


Heavy traffic has been seen on the M25Credit: LNP

That’s the most since the company began tracking summer getaway numbers in 2014.

Gridlocks and miles of tailbacks are expected on major routes up and down the country, and it is not expected to subside all weekend.

The worst time to travel will be between 10am and 7pm on Friday.

And the RAC warned to avoid the roads between 11am and 3pm and 11am and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

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Transport analytics company Inrix predicted the M25 – London’s orbital motorway – will see some of the worst jams due to the summer getaway, singling out the stretches between Bromley and the Dartford Crossing; Maple Cross and the M3; and the M23 to the M40.

The A303 near Stonehenge in Wiltshire, the M4 between Cardiff and Newport in South Wales, and the M5 south of Bristol are likely to see queuing traffic.

Drivers on the M11 in Cambridge were also stuck in huge queues in both directions

Leisure traffic volumes look set to peak tomorrow with 4.62 million separate road trips but Friday and Sunday are expected to be not far behind with 4.29 million separate trips on each day.

An estimated extra 5.61m journeys by car will take place between ‘frantic Friday’ and the end of Sunday as millions take to the roads after kids in England and Wales break up for the summer holidays.

The RAC and Inrix are recommending drivers plan well ahead and start their journeys either very early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the inevitable queues, some of which are expected to form quickly.

The RAC’s research suggests the UK might be in line for its third big “staycation summer” in a row following those caused by the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, although the extremely high fuel prices might have an effect – either reducing the amount of driving people do in the UK or putting people off driving further afield into continental Europe.

A “critical incident” has also been declared by the Port of Dover due to six-hour queues, with tourists urged to consider staying away.

One lorry driver said Delays at Dover are causing tourist and freight traffic to be stuck on gridlocked roads in the area.

One Twitter user wrote shortly before 7am that there was “total gridlock”, while another said they had been “waiting five hours and still not in the port”, adding: “Sat in lanes waiting to get to border control. Zero movement.”

A serious crash between a van and a lorry also led to a closure on the M20 in Kent.

National Highways South-East said delays between junction 11  and junction 12 were “severe”.

Ferry operator P&O Ferries told passengers to allow at least five hours to clear the approach roads and security checks.

Passengers have been advised to take additional water and snacks, ensure they have plenty of fuel in the tank, and urged not to try back routes to reach the port due to concerns about worsening the congestion situation, particularly for local residents.

 he had been queuing in his HGV in Dover since 6pm on Thursday, and was still waiting to cross the Channel after 10am on Friday morning.

“I’ve been in something like this before, but this is the worst,” he said.

The Port of Dover attacked French authorities for “woefully inadequate” border control staffing, and local MP Natalie Elphicke claimed French border officers “didn’t turn up for work”.

The Port said resources at the French border increased on Friday morning and traffic was slowly beginning to move, “but it will take some time to clear the backlog”.

Mr Bannister said the port had shared “granular detail” on an “hour-by-hour basis” about the amount of traffic it was expecting, in a bid to avoid such disruption.

Apologising for the situation on Friday – one of the busiest periods for foreign travel from the UK as most schools in England and Wales break up for summer – he said they had been “let down” by French authorities.

However, fuel price protests in south-west England did not cause disruption to drivers.

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At around midday on Friday, Avon and Somerset Police said: “The protest convoy has exited the M5 southbound at J24 (Bridgwater). There is now no protest activity on motorways within Avon & Somerset.

“There are some small delays in both directions on the M5 due to volume of traffic. A protest at the Shell garage in Bridgwater continues.”

Traffic was heavy on the M4 as drivers made their way out of London


Traffic was heavy on the M4 as drivers made their way out of LondonCredit: LNP
Vehicles queue on the M5 near Portbury, Bristol


Vehicles queue on the M5 near Portbury, BristolCredit: PA

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