Whatever your plans are this Easter, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to be alone on the roads. 19 million drivers are set to hit A roads and motorways across the weekend, with millions more expected in the following half term.
As with all holiday periods, and any time roads are expected to be busier than normal there will be traffic jams and congestion as motorways and public transport struggle to cope with the extra capacity.
Alongside that, you have the expected bad weather with parts of Britain bracing themselves for their third batch of snow this year, while others deal with torrential downpours.
Put that all together and you’ve got the perfect mix of more drivers on the road and poor conditions which inevitably leads to travel chaos.
With the whole of the UK seemingly off on holiday or away to visit friends and family, how can you beat the traffic, avoid the crowds and have the easiest, most peaceful journey possible?
It’s simple. We’ve put together a helpful guide for you to help you decide the best time to travel and let you know which routes to avoid. Wherever you’re headed this Easter let our travel guide help you save time.
Best time to travel
While it’s fair to say that pretty much the entire weekend will be busy, there are parts of the holiday period when the roads may be slightly less jam-packed.
According to transport analytics firm Inrix, the best times to travel are:
- Thursday 29th March – between 10am and 12pm
- Good Friday – Before 10am and after 2pm
- Easter Monday – Before 12pm and after 5pm
Beyond travelling early in the morning on Thursday or Friday, drivers are advised to wait until Saturday to travel when roads are expected to be even quieter than normal.
Roads to avoid
Travelling at the recommended times is one way to save time and skip the queues.
Another is to avoid the busiest roads altogether as although Highways England said it would finish or lift roadworks on 99% of the network by Thursday (29th March), there are still many ‘essential works’ which will continue.
Some of the ‘essential works’ set to be carried out and therefore cause travel issues include the M6 near Coventry which will have over 10 miles of 50mph speed restrictions in place.
Elsewhere approximately 10 miles of the M4 near Reading will have narrow lanes which could cause congestion over the weekend. Junction 8 on the M6 to junction 3 of the M5 around Oldbury in the West Midlands will also have lower speed limits imposed for around 7 miles.
Aside from roadworks, there are still plenty of roads you’ll want to avoid as they’re likely to attract more drivers than usual.
Unsurprisingly the M25 is expected to be extremely busy with delays on Thursday 29th set to be over an hour. Junction 16 (M40) to junction 23 (A1M), a 21-mile stretch that usually takes 23 minutes is more likely to take you over an hour and a half.
Other A roads and motorways set for big delays include the M6 South, the M1 North and the A720 West.
Travelling on public transport?
If you think that you can avoid busy roads by taking public transport this Easter, then you may be in for a big surprise. The bank holiday weekend will see over 400 sets of rail engineering works take place with many rail services being replaced by bus services.
Some of the busiest train lines, including the west coast main line, Northern lines, and South Western Railway trains will have virtually no trains running from Good Friday.
South Western Railway lines are also being hit by RMT industrial action which will be in place on the 30th and 31st March as well as the 1st and 2nd April.
Other major engineering works this weekend include:
- Bristol Temple Meads – Closed from Friday to Tuesday 3 April with no trains running through it
- London Euston – No long-distance trains on Easter Sunday but Underground services will still run
- Manchester Victoria – Closed from Friday to Monday
- Hull – Replacement buses to and from Selby from Saturday to Monday
- Liverpool – London Northwestern Railway services start and end at Crewe
Where to check for updates?
One of the best ways to ensure you’re not stuck in traffic, wasting time and petrol, is to check the latest travel news. Traffic jams and congestion can appear from anywhere so before you hit the road, ensure that you’ve checked your route.
There are tons of ways to check the traffic and travel from using the built-in maps feature on your phone or satnav to listening to local radio for updates.
You can also check various websites for more detailed information. Some of the sites we’d recommend include:
- Highways England
- Transport for London
- Traffic Scotland
- AA traffic news
If you’re having to take the train over the weekend be sure to double check your route using either the National Rail Enquiries website or via the particular train operators website – you can find a list of train operators and their websites here.
Another important factor to consider before hitting the roads this Easter is the weather. Not only is it important from a fashion and comfort point of view (no one wants to be caught out in a t-shirt and shorts in a downpour), but it will also impact the roads and driver behaviour.
While low temperatures, heavy rain and in some areas, snow are predicted, weather, much like traffic can change quickly and so by making sure you have up to date information will make planning your route and travelling a lot easier.
Alongside checking your phone and various weather apps, you can also get an up to date weather report on the Met Office website or the BBC Weather site.
Borrowing a car this Easter?
With all this travelling going on, it’s more than likely that at some point during the Easter weekend you’ll need to borrow a car from a friend or family member or even share the driving in your own vehicle with someone else.
If you find yourself needing to drive someone else’s car or have someone drive yours, you need to ensure that you are properly insured.
Many drivers wrongly assume that they are automatically insured to use another vehicle through either a ‘driving other cars’ clause or because they have comprehensive cover on their annual insurance.
For the majority of drivers this is not the case as most annual insurance providers no longer offer this clause or if they do, it’s typically limited to third-party only cover.
This means that if you were to drive another vehicle, you could face a range of penalties including points on your licence, a driving ban, an unlimited fine, and potentially have the vehicle taken away and destroyed.Not to mention delays in your onward travel spent roadside with the Police.
Not a great way to spend the Easter break, right?
One way to avoid these potential penalties and get the car insurance you need is with a temporary car insurance policy from Tempcover.
It’s the fast, flexible and affordable way to get fully comprehensive insurance on a car you’re not already insured to use and because it’s a short term policy, you only need to pay for the duration you want.
From just one hour up to 28 days, it’s an affordable insurance alternative that could save you time and money. There are no long-term contracts and you won’t need to adjust your existing insurance, it’s just flexible insurance as and when you need it.
Compare prices from our panel of insurers, tailor your policy to your own individual needs with our range of add-on products including breakdown and misfuel cover and get instant cover from our website 24/7.
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