Bank holiday chaos: 18 million drivers take to the roads this weekend

Almost half (45%) of UK drivers will travel by car this August bank holiday weekend, expected to cover 79 miles on average.
Drivers wanting to avoid the chaos and looking for clearer roads may want to consider travelling on Monday, which is due to be the least busy day.
More than one in five (22%) of motorists who have driven over a bank holiday weekend experienced road rage as a result of the chaos.
Interactive test reveals how confusion, stress and heightened emotions can affect driving ability.
One in seven (14%) of bank holiday drivers have had an accident or near miss on a bank holiday weekend, while a fifth (5%) have broken down.

Drivers are being urged to prepare for another chaotic bank holiday weekend as 18 million cars(1) are expected on the roads over the three-day weekend.

And it seems that Saturday will be the busiest day, according to new research by, the driver savings site, with three fifths (60%) – almost 11 million(2) – bank holiday drivers planning a trip for this day. But for those wanting to cut through the chaos, Monday might be the best time to travel, as fewer (50%) motorists are planning to hit the road on this day. In total, almost half (45%) of UK drivers plan on travelling by car over the bank holiday and are expected to cover 79 miles on average over the three days.

With traffic levels heightened, motorists are at risk of congestion and tougher driving conditions, with busy roads becoming confusing to navigate through. And this might get their blood boiling. In fact, the research by the driver savings site found that more than one in five (22%) drivers who have driven over a previous bank holiday weekend experienced road rage.

But getting caught up in road rage can have serious consequences without drivers realising it, and it can reduce concentration levels. To help motorists understand the impact their emotions can have on their driving ability, has created an interactive test. This gives drivers advice on dealing with their emotions, be it stress, anxiety, exhaustion or even excitement. For those struggling with driving stress, has launched a guide on the top tips for keeping their cool when hitting the road.

Driving with high levels of anxiety is just one of many factors that can lead to accidents. Undoubtedly any advice on how to reduce this likelihood will be welcomed by motorists travelling over a holiday weekend, as one in seven (14%) have experienced an accident or near-miss over a previous long-weekend. A further one in five (20%) 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.

With chaotic driving conditions having such an impact on a driver’s experience, it’s no surprise that one in eight (12%) bank-holiday drivers admit that previous levels of traffic put them off driving over future long-weekends. In fact, more than one in four (28%) of drivers are saving themselves the hassle and aren’t planning to drive at all, with more than a third (36%) blaming the bad traffic for their decision.

However, it isn’t just bad traffic that is stinging drivers over a holiday weekend. With more cars on the road, rescue services are rushed off their feet. In fact, one in 20 (5%) bank-holiday drivers have broken down over a long-weekend, and had to wait almost an hour and a half to be recovered, on average.

But despite so many drivers claiming to be put off by bank holiday traffic, many are still braving the conditions and heading out. Most (51%) will be taking the time to visit family, while more than a fifth (21%) will be taking the time to visit the seaside. 

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, says: “This weekend is shaping up to be very chaotic on the roads, and it’s likely drivers will find themselves getting agitated by the sheer number of cars on the road. Those wanting to avoid the chaos should consider travelling on Monday for a better chance of a clearer road.

 “We urge motorists to avoid stressful traffic this bank holiday by planning their route in advance, or driving earlier in the morning or later at night to avoid peak periods. And if they’ve found themselves getting a bit hot-headed out on the road, then our guide to keeping cool while behind the wheel might be helpful in avoiding these stressful situations.”


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 15th August and 17th August 2018.

1. (March 2018) - there are 40,331,643 full UK driving licences registered. 45% of UK drivers say they are driving over the back holiday = 18,149,239.
2. Of the 18,149,239 drivers travelling over the bank holiday weekend (see footnote 1), 60% are planning to travel on the Saturday – 10,889,543.


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