Drivers expected to take 11m leisure trips by car over bank holiday weekend

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Drivers look set to conduct 10.8 million leisure trips this weekend – but sunny weather could cause that figure to increase considerably.

New research of drivers’ plans by the RAC has found that around 7.2m trips could take place between Friday and bank holiday Monday – with Saturday and the bank holiday itself set to be the busiest days. An extra 3.6m journeys are also due to be taken at some point over the weekend by drivers who have not yet decided on which day they’ll travel.

This lack of decision suggests that many drivers are planning on seeing how the weather turns out before setting off behind the wheel.

RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous said: “With Covid restrictions gradually lifting and some better weather on the horizon at last, we’re anticipating large numbers of drivers to be venturing out and about over the bank holiday weekend. The fact only one-in-10 said they weren’t planning a trip because of the virus, down from a quarter over Easter, shows people now have more confidence to drive to see friends and family safely.

“Our research points to Saturday and Monday being the busiest days, but in reality, there’s a good chance the weather will have the final say as to how busy the roads get. A return to more typical late May temperatures and an end to the recent wind and rain could spark a sudden surge in journeys and mean some routes – especially those to the coasts and hills – start to clog up.”

The reduction in Covid cases across many parts of the UK is having an effect, too. Only one-in-10 of the 1,100 UK drivers questioned are putting off their weekend travel plans due to the pandemic, compared with 18 per cent over the May bank holiday and 25 per cent over Easter.

Traffic should be allowed to flow relatively freely, too, as 98 per cent of Highways England roads will be free of roadworks over the period in order to provide extra capacity. In total, 899 miles of roadworks will be either completed or suspended prior to the holiday.

Aldous added: “Drivers can help my colleagues and I have a better bank holiday weekend by making sure their vehicles are in good working order, something that’s particularly important for anyone driving longer distances. Taking a few minutes to check tyres and fluid levels before setting out could very easily make the difference between a plain-sailing journey and one beset by a breakdown.”