Drivers issued urgent warning of traffic delays over bank holiday weekend as 20m Britons set to hit roads

Drivers issued urgent warning of traffic delays over bank holiday weekend as 20m Britons set to hit roads

WATCH: National Highways behind the scenes at work on the M25

Hemma Visavadia

By Hemma Visavadia

Published: 21/05/2024

- 09:29

More than 20 million journeys are expected to take place this weekend

Drivers have been warned to expect high levels of traffic this bank holiday as more than 20 million journeys get underway.

Experts have estimated higher levels of traffic than before the pandemic with Friday, May 24, set to be the worst day of the bank holiday with over four million journeys planned.

A further 3.7 million trips are expected on Saturday, May 25, while 3.4 million journeys are expected on Sunday and bank holiday Monday.

To avoid the peak traffic, drivers have been advised to delay their departures until 6pm to miss the worst of the queues when both commuter and leisure drivers are sharing the roads.

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Traffic warning

Traffic is expected to be the worst on Friday 24 May


Meanwhile, the M25 clockwise between J7 for the M23 and J21 for the M1 is expected to be the busiest with traffic delays anticipated to last more than an hour and a half in the late afternoon on Friday.

On Saturday, however, traffic is expected to peak between 3pm and 6pm, with motorists advised to start their journeys as early as possible.

For those setting off later, the M5 southbound which connects Birmingham to Devon, is likely to suffer major delays between J16 north of Bristol and J25 for Taunton in Somerset taking over an hour longer than usual.

On Saturday afternoon, drivers should note that the M25 anticlockwise towards the M23, the A14 eastbound towards the east coast, and on the M3 and A34 will be busier than usual.

Journeys between the M23 and the M1 will bear the brunt of the traffic with congestion expected to nearly triple to three hours.

RAC breakdown spokesperson Alice Simpson said: “Our research suggests this weekend could be the busiest of the year so far on the roads.

“In fact, we’re looking at possible leisure traffic volumes returning to levels similar to what we last saw in 2019 before the coronavirus outbreak, as drivers’ desire to make the most of the UK increases.

“While no one likes to think about their vehicle breaking down, especially on a bank holiday weekend, those vehicles that are serviced regularly and generally looked after are much less likely to let their drivers down.”

For drivers heading to Dover to travel abroad, National Highways warned about the contraflow system in place along the port and tunnel.

Operation Brock will be put in place this week with the M20 closed from 8pm on Wednesday, May 22, to 6am on Thursday, May 23.

The agency detailed: “Anyone planning to use Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover is advised to plan their journeys and check with the travel operator before setting out.

“They should also allow more time for their journeys and make sure they are prepared for delays, so should have plenty of fuel, warm clothes, and supplies such as food and drink.”


Queues of vehicle at the Port of Dover

Operation Brock will be put in place on the M20 heading into the Port of Dover


Research by the RAC found that 22 per cent of drivers said the main reason for using their car this weekend would be for a day out with friends or family, while eight per cent intend to spend a day in the countryside or by the beach.

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