Here’s when the busiest driving day of the festive season falls this year

Here’s when the busiest driving day of the festive season falls this year
Here’s when the busiest driving day of the festive season falls this year

A poll of 20,000 people conducted by the Automobile Association (AA) has revealed the busiest driving day this festive season, when almost 19 million motorists will be hitting UK roads.

A massive 59 per cent of drivers will take to main roads or motorways on Friday 21 December, as many schools and offices close for Christmas, and some scramble to finish their shopping in time for the big day.

The breakdown recovery firm warned of queues on major routes and urged people to check traffic reports before setting off.

A quiet Christmas Eve for commuters

More than half (53 per cent) of respondents to the survey said they would also be driving on Saturday 22 December.

This seems to be the most popular day of the festive period for shopping and other day trips, with 29 per cent of people planning a trip to the shops or other leisure venues for that date.

Far less commuter traffic is expected on Christmas Eve, as it falls on a Monday, meaning many people will have finished work on the previous Friday.

However, 50 per cent of drivers are still expected to travel in the 24 hours before Christmas Day, with a spike in visits to friends and family.

Plan ahead

AA Patrol of the Year winner George Flinton told the Press Association, “We want drivers to keep their festive spirit alive when they are driving this Christmas and the best way to ensure hassle-free journeys is to plan them well.

“Christmas falling on a Tuesday may help to spread festive journeys out – but it also means more days of traffic as the getaway from work on Friday is followed by last-minute shopping traffic on Saturday and visits to friends and family on Sunday.

“It’s likely to be very busy at peak times on the major routes. Check the traffic reports before you go and try to travel when it’s quieter if you can or consider an alternative route to beat the jams.”

Public transport will also be affected

And it’s not just motorists who will be affected over the festive period. People travelling by train over Christmas face severe disruption on several lines due to engineering work.

Network Rail is warning that some routes will have “significant changes to normal services” and urged people to plan their journeys as early as possible.

There will be less overall disruption than during the 2017 festive period, however, as most of the engineering work has been scheduled for when no trains are planned to run, such as on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Services to London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports will be affected while trains to London Paddington and London Victoria will also be reduced.

Engineering work is taking place around Manchester Victoria, while track improvements between Bedford and Kettering will also affect timetables.

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