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17m cars set to take to the road

Motorway traffic jam22/5/14

By Ian Lewis

Motorists are being warned that the spring bank holiday weekend is likely to be one of the busiest ever on our roads.

With the weekend marking the beginning of half-term for many schools across England and Wales, up to 17 million vehicles are expected to be taking to the roads, according to the AA.

Drivers are being warned to expect delays and are advised to ensure their cars are in good working order before setting off on a long journey.

The AA says the afternoon and evening of Friday May 23 is likely to see heavier traffic than normal on many routes as commuters are joined by families making an early start to their holiday.

Extra traffic and delays

Meanwhile, motorists on many main routes are being told to expect severe delays between 10am and early afternoon on Saturday May 24.

Mark Spowage, winner of the motoring organisation's Patrol of the Year title, said: "Whatever the weather, drivers should be prepared for extra traffic and possible delays on major routes to coastal areas and holiday resorts.

"Planning your journey and avoiding the main bottlenecks could relieve the frustration of sitting in a traffic jam.

"Preparing for your journey is important, especially if your car hasn't undertaken a long trip for a while.

"Just take ten minutes extra to check the basics - oil and water levels, tyre pressures - check your handbook to see whether you need to increase pressures if you have a heavy load - and top up the windscreen washer."

Busiest areas

Traffic information specialist Trafficmaster has compiled a hotspots list detailing where it expects to be the busiest areas over the holiday weekend. 

  • All sections of the M25, especially both ways between junctions 12 and 17 west of London near Heathrow Airport
  • The M1 in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire
  • The M6 in the Midlands, the M5 in south-west England and the A303 heading west
  • The M4 westbound from west London to Newbury in Berkshire and the section going into Wales
The Highways Agency said 180 miles of roadworks on England's motorway and major A-road network would be completed by Friday, with a further 145 miles of works being suspended until Tuesday May 27.

But for safety reasons a number of works will have to remain in place.

These include a section of the M1 in Northamptonshire, part of the M40 in Bicester in Oxfordshire, a northern section of the M25 in Hertfordshire and part of the M5 near Gloucester.

A survey by the RAC showed that Saturday is likely to be the busiest day of the holiday period, with around 3.5 million motorists on the move.

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