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RAC issues warning to drivers and names best and worst times for Easter travel

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Motoring experts have revealed exactly when to avoid the roads this Easter weekend to prevent a total “carmageddon”.

More than 14 million leisure journeys are expected to be made by car this Easter weekend when the bank holiday collides with most UK schools breaking up.

But in an attempt to ease Bank Holiday car chaos those in the know have revealed when and where the roads are set to be the busiest.

According to a new study of drivers’ plans from the RAC and INRIX Good Friday could spell some of the worst delays for drivers as an estimated 2.6m getaway trips by car are due to be made on that day alone.

It’s more than is expected on Easter Monday and also higher than the number of journeys predicted to be made on Easter Saturday and Sunday – with 2.3m separate trips each.

On Good Friday the lengthiest delays are expected between 11am and 3pm meaning drivers are advised to start their trips as early as possible in the morning or delay them until later the afternoon. 

RAC says two popular routes for holidaymakers will be the M5 southbound between Bristol and Taunton and the M3 between the M25 and the south coast.

They are both set to be affected by some of the longest traffic jams, with journey times extending to one hour 48 minutes and two hours 18 minutes respectively. Both delays are twice as long as usual.

A table by the breakdown experts reveal the longest predicted delays on each day of the school break from today, Thursday, March 28 until Friday, April 5.

The road with the longest travel time will be at 4.45pm on the A303 from Ilminster to Andover on Monday, April 1 at 2.5 hours compared to a usual 1.3 hours.

On Friday, April 5 at 3pm on the M5 from Taunton to Bristol there is also set to be a travel time of 2.5 hours compared to a usual 1.1 hours. 

RAC Breakdown spokesperson Alice Simpson said: “With Easter falling earlier than usual at the start of the school holidays, it could be ‘carmageddon’ for holidaymakers. 

“Anyone who can delay leaving on Thursday 28 March until much later in the evening or set off as early as possible on Good Friday is likely to have a better journey than those who travel during the peak periods of the day.

“On every journey there are key pinch points where you can save yourself lots of valuable time if you can get through before everyone else. 

“This will be especially true over the whole Easter holidays as our research shows two-thirds (64%) of drivers will be making a leisure journey on major roads at some point.

“Lengthy queues can be expected along routes to the usual hotspots like the West Country, the Lake District and the south coast, especially during the middle of the day when most people make trips. 

“While a good proportion of drivers aren’t yet tying themselves to a date, there may be even more cars on the road than anticipated if the sun decides to make an appearance.”

Bob Pishue, INRIX transportation analyst, said: “Although travel times will peak on Thursday and Friday afternoons, drivers should be prepared for longer journeys than normal throughout the entire weekend. 

“To avoid the longest delays, we advise adjusting departure times so you’re not travelling in peak commuter hours. Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”

Andy Butterfield, customer services director at National Highways said: “This is the first bank holiday of the year, so we expect the roads to be busy with people looking to make the most of a long weekend.

“We encourage people to plan ahead and prepare their cars in advance for long journeys as this can help reduce the risk of breakdowns.”

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