A total of 14.8 million getaway trips are planned to take place between Friday and Monday this May Day bank holiday weekend, an RAC poll of drivers has suggested.
Motorists are being warned to prepare for delays during what is expected to be the busiest May Day bank holiday weekend in five years, with some 62 per cent more leisure trips expected to take place this weekend compared with the Easter break.
That’s the most for this bank holiday weekend since 2016.
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.
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.
Which day will be the busiest?
Saturday is likely to be the busiest day on the roads, with 2.6 million leisure journeys expected – though nearly a fifth of drivers we surveyed said they had yet to decide on which day over the long weekend they will be travelling.
Dennis said 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.”
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.
"It might well be the case that the weather ends up playing a deciding role in which days end up being busiest,” added Dennis. “Any sunnier, warmer days could trigger many more people to jump into their cars.”
Whatever the weather, the spokesman said the prospect of queues on the roads – particularly leading to major shopping centres – “looks far more likely this coming weekend”.
What’s the travel advice?
Drivers are advised to plan ahead and keep tuned to local traffic bulletins to find out if there’s any disruption.
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.
What’s the weather forecast?
According to the Met Office’s long range forecast, a mixture of sunshine, showers, and a cold east to northeasterly wind will welcome people into the May bank holiday weekend.
“Showers will be most frequent in the north and east, but could become quite widespread overland during the day,” the forecast says.
“Some wintriness is probable over the high ground of Scotland. A gradual transition to something more broadly unsettled is expected to follow, with areas of cloud, rain and stronger winds arriving from the west, although the north of the UK could stay in the colder, more showery conditions.
“Temperatures are likely to be colder than average overall, with chilly nights and occasional overnight frost, but may trend to nearer average for a time.”
These predictions like any are changeable with the possibility of small events over the Atlantic Ocean having potentially bigger impacts on the UK’s weather.
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.