Bank Holiday traffic: Here's when there is likely to be the most travel disruption and how to avoid it

Rebecca Smith
Count the cases of road rage
Count the cases of road rage (Source: Getty)

Hoping to escape for the Bank Holiday weekend and avoid as many other fellow holidaymakers on the roads as possible?

Fear not, for we have highlighted which routes are likely to be busiest and when, so you can try and plan to minimise disruption to your journey. And with connected car firm Inrix predicting more than 15m cars hitting the roads over the three-day period, you could well need it...

Read more: Just how much would four extra bank holidays cost?

Frantic Friday

TomTom's records of previous bank holidays found that on average Friday afternoon and evening have up to 50 minute delays expected on the M5 between 4-9pm, and over 60 minute delays on the M1 between 3pm and 6pm. If you can, travel in the morning and avoid 4pm-7pm across all routes.

Saturday stress:

For Brits travelling to the Southwestern coast, the A303 is very busy from 8am to 2pm on Saturday: expect an hour added onto your journey if you're planning to travel then.

On the whole Saturday is busy between 10am and 2pm so if you've got some flexibility, just don't travel at this time of day.

Manic Monday:

Monday is busiest in the afternoon as you'd imagine, as people try to stretch out that weekend for as long as possible. It's busy from 12pm onwards though, up until around 7pm, so try to travel in the morning if you'd like to save yourself the road rage.

You're in luck if you're planning to use the M1 and M5 though, which are likely to be pretty calm.

But don't forget to check roadworks, with planned work on the A27, M1, M25 and M3 likely to add to delays.

Here are the best times to travel:

Route Times to travel

M5 - between Exeter and Bristol

  • Friday before 4pm or after 9pm
  • Saturday before 10am and after 6pm
  • Monday unlikely to be busy

M1 - between Luton and Sheffield

  • Friday before 12pm or after 7pm
  • Saturday before 10pm or after 2pm
  • Monday unlikely to be busy

M6 - between Preston and Penrith

  • Friday morning or early afternoon, until 4pm
  • Saturday before 9am and after 6pm
  • Monday before 12pm and after 7pm

M40 - between Uxbridge and Oxford

  • Friday before 11am and after 5pm
  • Saturday before 11am or after 6pm
  • Monday before 3pm or after 4pm

A303 – between Andover and Yeovil

  • Friday before 3pm and after 7pm
  • Saturday before 8am or after 2pm
  • Monday before 2pm or after 5pm

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