MORE than 13million cars will flood motorways over the weekend as families hit the road for school holidays.
Drivers are expected to take off as early as Thursday in an attempt to dodge heavy delays.
Research undertaken by the RAC and INRIX reveals 13.4million vehicles are estimated to take leisure journeys over the weekend.
Brits attempting to leave early on Thursday will face severe delays between 1.45pm and 6.45pm due to an additional 3.7million motors on the road.
The M40 south between J14 and J11 is set to have a 72-minute delay from 2.45pm, while drivers will get stuck in traffic for over an hour when travelling on the M5 south between J4 and J8 from 6.15pm.
And traffic is expected to peak on Friday, with 5.3million additional cars expected to be on the road.
Best and worst times to travel this weekend
- Best: After 8pm
- Worst: Between 1.45pm and 6.45pm
- Best: After 8pm
- Worst: Between 11am and 6.45pm
- Best: Before 9.30am or after 4.30pm
- Worst: Between 11am and 2pm
- Best: Before 11am or after 8pm
- Worst: Between 1pm and 3pm
- Best: After 7pm
- Worst: Between 11.30am and 6pm
For those trying to beat the queues on Friday, congestion is expected to be at its worst between 11am and 6.45pm.
Drivers are tipped to face an 89-minute delay on the M1 south between J16 and J6 from 7.45am, while anti-clockwise trips on the M25 between J4 and J1 will be almost an hour from 2.45pm.
But there will be a slight reprieve on both days after 8pm, according to the data.
Motorists can expect heavy congestion on Saturday between 11am and 2pm, with delays easing after 4.30pm.
On Sunday, traffic will be at its worst between 1pm and 3pm, while roads on Monday will be packed from 11.30am.
Sections of the M25 anticlockwise are also likely to be slow on both days until 6pm, with drivers encouraged to make their return trips before 11am or after 8pm.
Tips for dealing with traffic jams
- Travel time: Most traffic queues are caused by too many cars on the same roads at the same time. If you can travel outside the peak times, you can easily miss them.
- Be prepared: Make sure you conduct all necessary service checks on your motor before you set off. Many summer breakdowns are avoidable – punctures for instance can be caused by a tyre that is in poor condition or just not inflated properly. And ageing batteries can struggle in lots of stop-start traffic.
- Keep it fresh: Hungry, thirsty or tired passengers are recipes for in-car irritability – and ‘carguments’. So when setting out, pack enough food and water to keep your passengers happy, and add in enough breaks along the way
Ben Aldous of the RAC said: “The last thing any family wants is a breakdown spoiling the start of their summer holiday they’ve no doubt been looking forward to for a long time.
“Traffic jams are pretty much guaranteed from the end of this weekend and, while it’s possible to predict where some of these will be, every summer we see extra delays caused by broken-down vehicles blocking lanes, leaving drivers faced with hours of frustration.
“We therefore urge holidaymakers to heed the advice and spend just a few minutes checking the basics like oil, coolant and tyre tread and pressure on their cars before they get packed up.
“Doing this could make the difference between a smooth and trouble-free journey, and one plagued by the stress and wasted time that comes from being broken-down at the roadside.”
Richard Leonard, head of safety at Highways England, said: “Breakdowns are still too common.
“We urge motorists to get behind the ‘check your vehicle day’ initiative this Friday and while we remind motorists to check their vehicles on a regular basis, this week is really important because schools are breaking up for summer and people are setting off for holidays and getaways.
“By doing the correct checks, motorists can make sure they reach their destinations safely and keep us all moving.”