27 million drivers to cause chaos on roads this bank holiday

Three in five (59%) UK drivers are planning to hit the roads over the May Day bank holiday weekend 

Posted on 28 Apr 2017

• Nearly two thirds (62%) of motorists plan to drive on Saturday, making this the busiest day to travel.
• The average driver is expected to travel 75 miles across the weekend.
• North East roads will be the busiest with two in three (65%) of the region’s motorists planning a car journey.
• One in seven (14%) drivers have had an accident or near miss on a bank-holiday weekend, and one in five (18%) have experienced road rage from bad traffic.

The UK can expect another weekend of heavy traffic this May Day bank holiday as three in five (59%) of the country’s driving population – equivalent to 27 million(1) vehicles – are planning a car journey.

Saturday is expected to be the busiest day of the weekend, according to new research by Confused.com, the no.1 site for car savings, as nearly two thirds (62%) of drivers say they have plans to jump in their car on this day.  However, it seems that only two in five (37%) drivers are planning to drive on Monday, giving those wishing to avoid traffic the perfect opportunity for a less chaotic drive.

Over the long weekend drivers are given an extra day of freedom and are expected to cover 75 miles on average. However, some regions are looking to be a lot busier than others. North East England in particular will see the highest levels of traffic with two thirds (65%) of drivers planning to get behind the wheel at some point over the weekend. Motorists in this region are expected to travel 81 miles on average, which is more than any other area in the UK.

Unfortunately, with busy roads tends to come a much higher risk of accidents. Unsurprisingly, one in seven (14%) drivers have had an accident or near miss during busy bank holiday traffic. A further one in four (23%) have witnessed an accident or near miss situation, which could add to the concern some may already feel about driving during busy periods. Roads in London appear to be the most hazardous for drivers during busy periods, as one in five (21%) drivers in the region have personally had an accident or near miss due to bad bank-holiday traffic, which is more than any other area in the UK. This may not be surprising given the reputation the city has for terrible congestion all year round, let alone during busy holiday periods.

And with terrible congestion comes road rage, something which nearly one in five (18%) drivers admit to experiencing as a result of bank-holiday traffic. In fact, drivers in North-East England in particular appear to be the most hot-headed when stuck on a busy road. One quarter (24%) of motorists in the region say they have had road rage during traffic build up over a bank holiday weekend.

However, some motorists are so put off by chaotic road conditions that they are not planning to drive their car at all over the weekend. In fact, two fifths (41%) of drivers are currently not planning to drive at all, with more than one third (37%) blaming bad traffic for their decision, and nearly one quarter (23%) claiming they simply hate driving over a bank holiday. 

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “As UK drivers recover from the chaos of one bank holiday, another is very quickly upon us and we can expect this to be equally as busy on the roads. With 27 million drivers planning to take to the roads, people can expect more delays, heavier congestion and possibly more accidents.

“Drivers without strict plans may want to consider driving on Monday, as this is likely to be the quietest day on the roads. Those planning longer journeys should certainly plan ahead and consider alternative routes that aren’t as popular, or likely to see as much traffic. This will free up the roads during busier times, reduce the risk of collisions and make the whole weekend a lot more comfortable for road users.”


Notes to editors

Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll on behalf of Confused.com. This was an online poll of 2,000 UK adults who drive (nationally representative sample). The research was conducted between 19th April and 21st April 2017.

1. Department for Transport figures show there are 45.5 million driving licence holders in Britain (Sept 2014) – 59% of this equals 26,845,000 (rounded up to 27 million).

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