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Gloucestershire Business News

RAC warns: don't make tomorrow your "Bad Friday"

If you're heading out over Easter, you might want to give the M5 a wide berth.

Drivers look likely to make up to 17m leisure trips by car this Easter bank holiday, with Good Friday and Easter Sunday set to see the largest number of journeys.

And while any whole of the UK could be a potential headache, research from the RAC and transport analytics experts at INRIX flags routes through the south west as a hotspot for the worst delays.

Rod Dennis, RAC Breakdown spokesman, said: "There's every chance Good Friday could turn out to be a 'bad' Friday for drivers this year. With an estimated 2.7m 'getaway' trips expected that day, major roads in the south west of England and through some of the home counties are most likely to experience the longest delays.

"The A303 westbound near Stonehenge, M5 south between Bristol and Bridgwater and M25 anticlockwise between Hertfordshire and Surrey are predicted to see more than twice the normal amount of traffic, with vehicle speeds reduced to just 12mph at some points in the day."

Easter Sunday is also forecast to see a similar number of leisure journeys being made by drivers (2.7m), with Easter Saturday and Easter Monday only slightly less busy with 2.3m separate trips each.

But it appears a large number of drivers are waiting to see what the great British weather has in store before deciding which day to jump in the car - with the potential for another 7m trips to be staggered throughout the long weekend.

Planned engineering work on the railway, including closure of London Euston station over the weekend, could exacerbate problems, though the RAC added that National Highways is temporarily lifting around 1,400 miles of roadworks from Thursday to help alleviate queues.

In separate RAC research, just one-in-five drivers (19%) routinely check their cars are 'road-ready' before making an Easter trip. While half of drivers (51%) said they sometimes checked their cars over before setting out, an alarming 30% said they never do.

"The south and west of the UK are the areas to watch as they're home to some vital roads responsible for carrying vast numbers of people to the holiday destinations of the West Country - our advice to anyone is to get on the road as early as possible on Good Friday, or travel on a different day entirely.

Mr Dennis added: "At least it won't cost quite as much to fill up the family car this Easter as it did last year, although there's no getting away from the fact that drivers of diesel cars continue to get a really poor deal at the pumps. The average price of unleaded is currently £1.46 a litre, with diesel at £1.63 when it should really be around £1.52 based on the current wholesale price. This compares to £1.62 and £1.76 respectively this time last year, which means a tank of petrol is £9 cheaper and diesel £7, despite being unfairly overpriced at the moment."

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