2018 has so far been unusual in that many of us have, unusually, been experiencing a great British Summer. The last thing you want to be doing though when the weather is like it has been, is sat in a car in 30 degree heat, absolutely gridlock on the motorway. Whilst you may think that everyone will be walking or cycling instead of taking their car to make their journeys because of the lovely weather, however this is not the case. Economic factors have made ‘staycations’ more popular than ever, and with many families not booking their holidays until the last minute, the sunny weather has been the determining factor for those deciding to hop in their car rather than hop in a plane.
Peak times change
When one refers to ‘peak times’ it’s likely that most of us will think of rush hour for work and schools (so 6am until 9am, then 3pm until 7pm, Monday through to Friday). During the school Summer holidays however, these times change dramatically. The worst times to start your journey are between 1pm and 8pm on Friday, between 11am and 4pm on Saturday, and again between 11am and 4pm on Sunday. This is because these are the typical times that British holiday makers begin their getaways for the Summer, and since there is no school, people are leaving the house later. In order to avoid this, we recommend starting your travel much earlier in the morning, or later in the evening. But, if you can access smart maps, like Google or Apple on your phone or computer device, your route, including route time based on current delays, will be precisely calculated for you. If you access these maps on a few occasions before you leave for your own holiday, you may be able to determine when your route is at it’s busiest. It’s not just traffic volumes that are an issue…traffic volumes compounded with road works or diversions can help create the ‘perfect storm’, so far as road travel is concerned.
Saying this, sometimes you can’t pick and choose when to leave the house for your day, for instance if you have a flight booked and you need to leave at peak time, and of course, many of us use our cars to travel to ports and airports for holidays too. Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do to avoid this potential traffic other than be prepared for it (though sometimes staying the night before at an airport hotel can save a lot of stress on your day of travel). In this heat, we highly recommend having plenty of water and snacks with you, and a lot of patience for both your companions, and other road users. Check your fuel levels too as aircon can make your fuel dwindle quicker than normal. Furthermore, whilst the majority of major roadworks are undertaken during the night nowadays, do check online to see if any roadworks are expected to be taking place on your route, and plan an alternative route if possible to avoid these.