Drivers abandoning planned foreign holidays this summer could lead to a massive surge in traffic on the UK’s roads.
The RAC is predicting an extremely busy summer on the roads as up to half of people who had planned to holiday overseas say they will take a break within the UK if their foreign trip is cancelled.
According to the motoring organisation’s research, almost half of drivers already have firm plans for a holiday somewhere in the UK this summer. However, 48 per cent of those with foreign trips planned will also take a holiday elsewhere in the UK if travel restrictions put a stop to overseas travel.
With official data showing that 19 of the 20 most popular holiday destination countries are currently on the Government’s red and amber restrictions lists and are effectively off-limits, the RAC research points to the possibility of much higher traffic volumes.
Such a rise in holidaymakers could spell chaos on the roads, with staycation holiday traffic swelled even further by day-trippers taking advantage of good weather, all combined with regular commuter traffic, which is returning to pre-pandemic levels.
While a third of those questioned by the RAC plan to take their trips during the school holidays, similar numbers aim to get away before schools break up or after pupils return to class.
According to the RAC survey, 71 per cent of people will rely on their car for this year’s summer holiday, with another four per cent choosing a motorhome and four per cent taking a caravan with them.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “With months of being locked down now behind us there’s a clear and very understandable desire from most people to have a summer holiday of some sort. That said, a significant proportion don’t intend to get away at all, perhaps worried about a possible third Covid wave or, more optimistically, hoping for a better opportunity of going abroad later on this year.
“For those heading off in the UK this summer it’s very apparent that the car is going to be the transport mode of choice. What’s more, if those who have foreign trips planned can’t take them there is every chance the roads will be far busier than they would be in a normal summer, especially if we’re blessed with good weather as this will cause the number of day trips and weekend breaks to rocket.
“If traffic volumes really do swell this summer, it could turn out to be more important than ever that drivers check their vehicles before setting out to avoid a breakdown at the roadside – oil, coolant and screenwash levels should be checked, and all tyres should free of damage and inflated to the right levels for the load being carried, particularly if the whole family is on board and the car is jam-packed. Anyone who’s put off getting their car fixed or serviced during Covid should take action sooner rather than later to avoid their staycation being spoiled by a breakdown.”