Traffic warning ahead of ‘busiest May Day weekend since 2016’

Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

Motorists are being warned to prepare for delays during what is expected to be the busiest May Day bank holiday weekend in five years.

A total of 14.8 million getaway trips are planned to take place between Friday and Monday, an RAC poll of 1,050 UK drivers suggested.

That is the most for this bank holiday weekend since 2016.

Saturday is likely to be the busiest day on the roads, with 2.6 million leisure journeys.

The RAC said the figures indicate many people are keen to take advantage of the recent easing of coronavirus restrictions to see friends and family, or take day trips.

Some 62% more leisure trips will take place this weekend compared with the Easter break, the poll suggested.

RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: “After what was one of the quietest Easters on the roads in years, our figures suggest the easing of Covid restrictions has made a dramatic difference, with millions more drivers planning to hit the roads.

“It remains to be seen what effect the weather will have, as meeting up in soggy parks and gardens may not prove quite so appealing. And if it’s too cold for a trip to the beach, then there could be a big uplift in visits to shops, cafes and restaurants with covered outdoor areas.

“Nonetheless, the prospect of queues on the roads – particularly leading to major shopping centres – looks far more likely this coming weekend, and we’d advise drivers to plan ahead and keep tuned to local traffic bulletins to find out if there’s any disruption.

“What’s more, given nearly a fifth of drivers we surveyed said they had yet to decide on which day over the long weekend they will be travelling, it might well be the case that the weather ends up playing a deciding role in which days end up being busiest. Any sunnier, warmer days could trigger many more people to jump into their cars.”

Meanwhile, rail journeys will be disrupted this weekend as Network Rail is carrying out 620 upgrade projects across Britain.

This will affect several routes, including lines serving London King’s Cross and the West Coast Main Line.