RAC warning: Best and worst times to travel home for Christmas to dodge the traffic

Driving home for Christmas can be a nightmare, and Chirs Rea can only get you so far. Luckily, roadside rescue services RAC and AA have provided information based on both data and experience to help you pick the right time to hit the highway

Find the best times to hit the roads this Christmas
Find the best times to hit the roads this Christmas

Christmas is just days away, and all through the UK people are gearing up to make long journeys to spend time with loved ones – Covid allowing.

According to motoring organisation RAC, 27 million journeys are due to be made by road, with 18 million cars in action ferrying people, presents and pudding around the British Isles over the coming days.

The organisation has warned that the UK is due for the worst holiday traffic since 2015, as people clamber to have as normal a Christmas as possible after so many plans were forsaken last year.

Read on for the peak times to avoid, and the gaps to pick if you want to travel with as much ease as possible this holiday season.

When are the best times to avoid the roads for Christmas 2021 travel?

The roads certainly won’t be this empty, but driving conditions could be challenging this Christmas


Getty Images)

The obvious advice of avoiding rush hour still applies in the week before Christmas, but if you want to avoid the busiest times, try not to hit the roads on Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24.

Research, conducted by the RAC and data firm INRIX, has indicated that 5.3 million car journeys are expected on Christmas Eve alone, in what’s been dubbed “frantic festive Friday”.

The data indicated there will be 4.1 million leisure trips made on Thursday, December 23.

Meanwhile, the AA has said it expects to see 18 million cars on the road on the other days building up to the Christmas weekend.

Jack Cousens, the AA’s head of road policy told the Sun: “The influence of Omicron is now being felt, so our breakdown stats have stayed reasonably low as people decided to cancel events and not travel.

“That said, Thursday and Friday could be busy as people take the decision to see their family others for a shorter period – two to three days as opposed to a week or so.”

On the notorious M25, clockwise traffic is expected to be fierce between J7 and J16 on December 23. Meanwhile, the M40 between J11 and J9 will be packed on December 22.

This means that the best times to navigate the national road network without too much hassle are in the spaces between these predicted periods.

The RAC’s breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “Despite the increasing prevalence of the Omicron Covid variant, our research shows that the vast majority of drivers are still determined to do Christmas properly this year – in sharp contrast to 12 months ago.

“But with overall traffic volumes in the run-up to the big day set to be down slightly on normal given the current ‘work from home’ guidance, there’s reason to hope there won’t be too many queues as millions get away to see friends and family.”

Make sure you plan your thoroughly and conduct proper checks on your car before setting off on a long trip.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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