The annual Christmas drive to see relatives is so famous that Chris Rea even wrote a song about it, but the truth is that it isn’t usually much fun.
Most roads are packed out with other motorists, the weather’s cold and it’s too dark and dingy outside to make the trip anything other than a drag.
Thursday and Friday likely to be worst days
Apparently, Thursday (December 19th 2019) is predicted to be the worst for traffic, with major roads set to be busiest between 3pm and 7pm. If you definitely need to set off that day, the RAC recommends doing so after 8pm to avoid jams (although that’s not so handy if you’re not a fan of driving in the dark).
Meanwhile, the AA has said it thinks both Thursday and Friday (December 20th) could be a nightmare, as 17 million vehicles hit the roads on each day.
The RAC predicts traffic to peak between noon and 7pm on the Friday and the AA has highlighted 4pm as being particularly bad for jams. Again, travel after 8pm if you can.
Finally, families anticipating the festivities with a Christmas Eve drive are encouraged to set off before 10am if they can – and to avoid the period between 2pm and 6pm altogether.
For its part, Highways England is aiming to ensure 98 per cent of motorways and A roads are roadworks-free in time for Christmas.
Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, comments: “Unfortunately, there’s not much to be done about traffic when everyone wants to make their Christmas journeys at similar times. But it could be worth heeding this advice if you don’t want to be top to toe in tailbacks – and don’t forget to do a quick vehicle check before you set off to prevent unnecessary breakdowns.”