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Bank holiday traffic expected to return to pre-Covid levels

Congestion is expected over the August bank holiday, but drivers plan on staying closer to home

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Bank holiday traffic levels are expected to return to their pre-Covid average this weekend, with around 13.3 million cars being used for holiday trips.

Of 14,778 drivers surveyed by the AA, 42 per cent said they had a road trip planned for the August bank holiday, up from 37 per cent this time last year. Taking into account those using the roads for non-holiday purposes too, the August bank holiday will see a total of 18.4 million cars using the UK’s roads over three days.

In 2019, however, 23 per cent of drivers undertook August bank holiday road trips of 50 miles or more. Only nine per cent undertook similar journeys last year and this year the figure has only risen to 13 per cent, with the majority preferring to stay closer to home.

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“There are likely to be big delays on the roads where holiday traffic mixes with sporting or shopping day trippers. Drivers are advised to check their cars before venturing out,” warns AA president Edmund King. 

“Covid’s disruption to people’s lives is still noticeable in the 10 per cent fewer long-distance trippers this August,” he says. “The drop in longer trips might be due to the difficulty in booking accommodation away from home due to more families taking their holidays in the UK.

“Journeys have not yet returned to pre-lockdown patterns. Government statistics show that car travel since the easing of restrictions has been edging towards 95 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, but that is with public transport use still way down on what it was before Covid. September and the expected return of more people to offices will be a huge pointer to how much the coronavirus has changed the way we live, work and travel.”

Meanwhile, while it makes sense to double-check your car’s coolant level before risking a traffic jam in hot weather, the AA points out that some of the most common reasons its patrols are called out during the summer are for battery issues, tyre faults and keys locked in cars.

If you need a car to handle the traffic, check out our top 10 commuter cars here...

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