UK: Taking a Staycation? Avoid the Gridlock

UK: Taking a Staycation? Avoid the Gridlock

Did you know that a motorist in the UK will spend on average 31 hours each year in traffic, according to data supplied from traffic information supplier Inrix? As well as being a frustrating experience, being stuck in gridlock will also cost drivers £1,168 due to the amount of fuel and time that is wasted and the heavier the vehicle, the more the cost goes up.

“There is no silver bullet to sorting out congestion,” stated Rod Dennis, a spokesperson at the RAC. “Ring-fenced funding for improving England’s major roads from 2021 should help, but there also needs to be an emphasis placed on providing cheap, practical, reliable alternatives to the car — especially in urban areas.

“In the meantime, urban planners should be looking at how we can maximise vehicle flow — looking at traffic light sequencings, reducing the amount of time roadworks are live on roads and seeing what impact reducing road space for vehicles is having on journey times.”

Therefore, if you have booked or a planning on taking a staycation, we’re sure you really don’t want to be stuck in slow moving traffic or even come to a standstill on your journey. It has happened to us on countless occasions and it really does put a dampener on the start of what is supposed to be a great break

Audi dealership Vindis has offered a different possible solution — that is for drivers to know the times and the places which are particularly bad for traffic jams so that they can reduce the chance of getting caught up in gridlock…

The UK’s worst places for traffic

There is a high probability of encountering at least one traffic jam if you drive through London. According to the earlier mentioned data gathered by Inrix, the UK’s capital is the second most congested city across the whole of Europe, and drivers can face 73 hours each year in traffic. Having only driven through the city once and only managing to cover 10 miles in 2 hours, it was a journey that has since been placed on my blacklist.

London is far from the only city throughout Britain to have waiting times that stretch into double figures mind. Manchester, Lincoln, Birmingham, Braintree, Aylesbury, Bath, Luton, and Guildford are all English destinations with waiting times between 25 and 40 hours. Motorists in Scotland won’t always have clear roads either, with those in Aberdeen and Edinburgh expected to lose 28 hours a year due to traffic jams at peak times, while in Wales the most congested city — with 24 hours per year of waiting times — is Newport.

Particularly bad traffic jams won’t just be found in the UK’s city centres either. Some of the worst instances of congestion can be found on motorways and major routes on outskirts as drivers complete their commute. Therefore, here’s the UK’s top 10 most congested roads, again gathered by Inrix:

  1. A406 Northbound, Chiswick Roundabout to Hanger Lane, London. Drivers can expect to lose 73 hours per year on this route.
  2. A2 Eastbound, New Cross Gate to Prince Charles Road, London. Drivers can expect to lose 62 hours per year on this route.
  3. A3211 Eastbound, Westminster Bridge to London Bridge, London. Drivers can expect to lose 57 hours per year on this route.
  4. A102 Northbound, A2/Kidbrooke to Blackwall Tunnel, London. Drivers can expect to lose 51 hours per year on this route.
  5. A4200 Southbound, Russell Square to Aldwych, London. Drivers can expect to lose 50 hours per year on this route.
  6. A1 Southbound, College Gardens to Wallace Park, Belfast. Drivers can expect to lose 49 hours per year on this route.
  7. A308 Eastbound, Putney Bridge Approach to Sloane Square, London. Drivers can expect to lose 46 hours per year on this route.
  8. A431 Westbound, Bryants Hill to Lawrence Hill, Bristol. Drivers can expect to lose 45 hours per year on this route.
  9. A24 Northbound, Ormeau Road to Ann Street, Belfast. Drivers can expect to lose 45 hours per year on this route.
  10. A6 Northbound, Macclesfield Road to Heaton Lane, Manchester. Drivers can expect to lose 44 hours per year on this route.

The UK’s worst times for traffic

Driving in rush hour traffic should be avoided as much as possible, with the smart move being to wait until a quieter time of the day or week. Highlighting this point is car insurance experts Admiral, which compared the travel time of routes into various major city centres for a 9 am arrival on a Monday morning when compared to 9 am on a Sunday morning.

In Cambridge, 72 minutes can be added to a journey that is completed in the rush hour as opposed to the exact same journey being taken during the quietest time of the week. This saw the city take the top spot in the study, followed by Leeds (51 extra minutes) and Manchester (47 additional minutes). The full top 10 is as follows:

  1. Cambridge — 72 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  2. Leeds — 51 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  3. Manchester — 47 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  4. Sheffield — 46 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  5. Edinburgh — 45 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  6. Birmingham — 43 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  7. Bristol — 43 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  8. Cardiff — 41 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  9. Aberdeen — 38 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  10. London — 38 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.

City centres aren’t the only places where rush hour traffic can prove stressful. Major roads which may not be situated in urban areas should also be factored into this. Once more, Admiral is on hand as they conducted research to find the UK’s most congested routes.

In the study, the journey from Dartford to Trafalgar Square around London was recorded as the most congested route across the UK. Motorists can expect a staggering 225 per cent increase in driving time during the morning rush hour along this stretch of road. Romford to Trafalgar Square, again in London, didn’t fare much better, with driving time witnessing a 214 per cent increase throughout the morning rush hour.

How do things look when routes in London were omitted from the study’s findings? The most congested routes throughout the UK become Chepstow to Cabot Circus in Bristol (a 200 per cent increase in driving time during the morning rush hour), Halton to St George’s Hall in Liverpool (a 192 per cent jump in driving time throughout the morning rush hour), and Washington to the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle (a 192 per cent hike in driving time in the morning rush hour).

“The figures do bring home the potential time that could be saved if you travel outside of peak times,” pointed out Jo Cox, Admiral’s Motor Product Manager. “If at all possible, consider starting your journey and working day earlier or later. It could mean your time is spent a lot more productively.”

Therefore, when planning what time you should set off on your adventure, it is advisable that you wait for the morning/evening rush hour to pass. We find that setting off between 10.00am and 2.00pm and after 6.00pm, where possible, usually works for us

Times of the year when traffic can increase significantly

There will be certain times of the year when the level of traffic across the UK jumps substantially. Around the 2017 festive break, for instance, following a survey of its drivers the RAC predicted that 1.25 million leisure trips would have been completed on Friday, December 22nd 2017, 1.59 million on Saturday, December 23rd, 1.87 million on Christmas Eve and a huge 5.3 million on Boxing Day.

The RAC was also on hand to warn drivers that journeys could take longer to complete in the first two weeks of the 2017 school holidays. After an analysis of the travel plans of 3,176 motorists, the organisation predicted that they would have been 37 million leisure trips completed in the initial two weeks of the school holidays. This included 2.5 million journeys being made on the Friday that schools closed for the summer, 3.4 million on the Saturday and 2.8 million on the Sunday.

Therefore, if you do not have children and do not have to travel during school holidays, this could also reduce the likelihood of hitting gridlock and not having to endure more time in your car than necessary.

We hope this article has helped you plan your next trip by making you aware of the roads and times to avoid to ensure you have a smooth journey and a great staycation.

  • Collaborative Post


Sources & Further Reading:

https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/news/motoring-news/drivers-spend-31-hours-in-traffic-per-year/

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/traffic-jam-uk-hotspots-driving-rac-cars-motorways-m5-m6-a8006996.html

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-42917201

https://www.admiral.com/magazine/features-and-competitions/most-congested-cities

https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/cambridge-congestion-traffic-drivers-delays-14471939

https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/local-news/traffic-experts-reveal-best-worst-959029

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/830087/traffic-news-summer-holiday-UK-chaos-worst-times-to-travel

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