Drivers warned not to travel between 10am and 7pm this week - 'Chaos' on roads as 20 MILLION make Christmas getaway
Up to 20 million journeys are expected to be made on the days leading up to Christmas
Motorists up and down the country are being warned about building traffic in the run up to Christmas as an estimated 20 million car journeys are expected to be made between today and Christmas Eve.
Leisure traffic is predicted to build steadily through the course of the week as pressure on the roads will be heightened due to a strike by thousands of members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and Network Rail from 6pm on Christmas Eve.
Train passengers are being urged to complete journeys as early as lunchtime on Christmas eve, meaning many people will opt for car or coach travel instead.
The RAC and INRIX predict that 7.9 million getaway journeys will be made over the two days immediately before Christmas Day.
The worst congestion on those days is expected to be between 10am and 7pm on Friday, and between noon and 1pm on Saturday.
Transport analytics specialists INRIX expects travel times to be around 14 per cent longer compared to the same period last year with stretches of the M25, M60 near Manchester, M6 in the north-west and M40 in Oxfordshire seeing some of the longest jams.
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Christmas Day is also expected to see a lot of people on the move, with an estimated 3.6million journeys taken by car, and a further 3.3million on Boxing Day.
This amounts to an extra 1.4million trips across both days. With no commuting traffic on the roads, overall traffic volumes should be lower, meaning serious delays are less likely.
National Highways said it will ensure almost 98 per cent of England’s road network are fully open from 6am on Tuesday until the end of January 2 by either completing or lifting roadworks.
RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Our research suggests getaway traffic will build steadily all week, culminating in two frantic days of travelling just before Christmas itself.
“By Friday, we fear it will be a case of ‘jams today and jams tomorrow’ on the roads as millions of people jump behind the wheel to see family and friends – with last-minute Christmas shoppers as well as the impact of another rail strike also leading to an increase in traffic.
“If possible, drivers should try to make their trips on a quieter day earlier this week if they possibly can.”
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