More than 11 million leisure trips planned by car this week as schools go their separate ways for the summer

Motorists planning to leave this weekend should brace themselves for “incredibly busy conditions” as schools break up for the summer vacation.

A survey of 1,000 drivers for the RAC suggests that there could be 11.5 million leisure trips by car between Wednesday July 21 and Sunday July 25.

Wednesday is expected to be the busiest day for car trips, with 2.6 million expected, followed by 2.3 million on Friday. Sunday will be the quietest day, with 1.3 million trips.


On Wednesday and Thursday, the roads are expected to be the busiest in the afternoon and calm down around 6-7 p.m., although on Friday traffic will start to heat up before lunch. Driving in the evening is probably the quietest time of the day every day.

To give these numbers some context, it’s suggested that Friday will lead to a 29% increase in delays over typical July travel times.

RAC Breakdown spokesperson Simon Williams said: “We seem to have all the elements of a perfect storm on UK roads this summer – with millions of drivers already planning their holiday trips, more the very real prospect of a huge number of last-minute bookings if their overseas travel plans end in tatters due to Covid travel restrictions.

“With the roads likely to be so busy, we expect the number of people in need of our help to explode, but it’s not too late to reduce your chances of breaking down. This is why we cannot stress enough the importance of checking tires, oil and coolant levels.

Unsurprisingly, the M25 is expected to experience the biggest delays, but separate research has found the West Country to be the most popular destination for a summer vacation, followed by Scotland and Wales.

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