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UK to see 31 million drivers on the road this Easter

Saturday predicted to be the busiest day of the bank-holiday weekend across UK roads

Posted on 13 Apr 2017

  • More than two thirds (68%) of the UK driving population plan on travelling by car this Easter bank-holiday weekend.
  • Average driver expected to cover 78 miles over the four days.
  • Roads in East Midlands will be the busiest with three in four (75%) drivers planning a trip, while those in Northern Ireland will travel the furthest (91 miles).
  • 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. 

A surge in traffic is expected this Easter bank holiday as more than two thirds (68%) of the UK driving population – equivalent to 31 million(1) vehicles – are expected to hit the roads over the four-day weekend.

And it seems that Saturday will be the busiest day, according to research by no.1 site for car savings, with half (50%) of bank-holiday drivers planning a trip for this day. But for those wanting to avoid traffic, Thursday might be the best time to travel, as just one fifth (21%) of bank-holiday motorists are planning to hit the road on this day.

The majority of drivers will be using their four-day freedom to venture far and wide, and are expected to cover 78 miles on average. But some regions expect to see a higher volume of traffic than others. Roads in the East Midlands are expected to be the busiest, as three quarters (75%) of the region’s drivers plan to get behind the wheel over the course of the long weekend. And while the East Midlands may see a higher percentage of cars on the road, it is drivers in Northern Ireland who are predicted to cover the most ground – with an average of 91 miles to be driven by motorists within this region.

With increased rates of traffic expected up and down the country, there may be a heightened risk of accidents. So it is little surprise that one in seven (14%) drivers have had an accident or near miss during bank-holiday congestion. A further one in four (23%) drivers have witnessed an accident or near miss during bad traffic on a bank-holiday weekend, which could add to the concern some may feel about driving during this period. In fact, London appears to be the most hazardous place for drivers during busy periods, as one in five (21%) drivers in London have personally had an accident or near miss due to bad bank-holiday traffic – the highest figure across 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.

Congestion is also often the cause of 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 appear to get the most irate about traffic – with one quarter of motorists in the region (24%) say they have had road rage during traffic build up on a bank-holiday weekend.

Despite so many drivers taking to the road this Easter, nearly half (45%) admit that the usual level of holiday traffic puts them off driving. In fact, one third (32%) of drivers are so put off by the traffic that they are saving themselves the hassle and aren’t planning to drive at all, with one in five (21%) blaming the bad traffic for their decision.

But for those that are braving the hectic road conditions, the majority are taking the long weekend as an opportunity to visit loved ones. Two thirds (67%) of drivers in the UK are planning to mostly visit friends and family, while one third (31%) will opt for some retail therapy and hop in the car for a shopping trip. Meanwhile, just one in 10 (11%) are planning to take a minibreak in the UK or abroad.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, says: “Bank holidays are always an extremely busy time on UK roads, and an increase in traffic is always to be expected. With 31 million cars predicted to be out and about, drivers should perhaps adapt their plans to help them avoid traffic where possible. Planning your route differently or leaving a little earlier can make it an easier and more comfortable experience for drivers. Plus it should help free up the roads during peak times and ultimately reduce the risk of accidents.


Notes to editors

Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll on behalf of This was an online poll of 2,000 UK adults who drive (nationally representative sample). The research was conducted between 24th March and 28th March 2017.

1.Department for Transport figures show there are 45.5 million driving licence holders in Britain (Sept 2014) – 68% of this equals 30,940,000 (rounded up to 31 million).

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