Automobile Association

Automobile Association

August 21, 2013 05:18 ET

August Bank Holiday-Travel Update from the AA

- Up to 45 per cent of AA members likely to drive this weekend, particularly Northern Ireland (52%) and North-east (51%)

- Day trip (51%) most popular with AA members and coast/seaside (41%) top attraction

- AA members will average 50-60 miles a day behind the wheel over weekend

- AA research shows many drivers aren't fully prepared

- Packed weekend of music, sport and other leisure events

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - Aug. 21, 2013) - Up to 45 per cent of AA members will likely drive this August bank holiday weekend, averaging 50-60 miles a day. This equates to around 16 million drivers on the roads on what will be a packed weekend of leisure and sporting events, says the AA.

According to traffic information specialist Trafficmaster, some of the highlights include several music festivals - Reading and Leeds, Creamfields in Cheshire, Towersey Festival in Oxfordshire, Greenbelt at Cheltenham Racecourse, CarFest South near Overton, Hampshire, and South West Four on Clapham Common, London - plus a full football fixture list; The Ashes cricket at The Oval, London; rugby league Challenge Cup Final at Wembley; and Notting Hill Carnival among many others.

Travel expectations

The latest AA/Populus poll of 23,824 AA members* shows that the Northern Irish (52%) are most likely to drive over the weekend, followed by those in the North-east (51%) and Yorkshire & Humberside (48%).

Those driving will average 62 miles on Friday and bank holiday Monday (23 and 26 August) and around 52 miles on Saturday and Sunday (24 and 25 August). A day trip is the most popular outing (42%); close to a third (30%) plan a weekend away; and around a fifth (18%) will be going on or returning from a longer holiday. The coast/seaside (47%) remains the most popular destination, then visiting family (41%) with more than a fifth (22%) opting for either a National Park or special event.

Traffic update

Trafficmaster expects congestion on holiday routes from mid-afternoon on Friday (23 August). Routes to the South-west are likely to be the busiest and, depending on the weather, heavy traffic may be experienced on routes to the coast.

Next week (27-30 August) commuters will benefit from a quieter week on the roads but traffic will peak again next Sunday (1 September) as people head home.

Tony Rich, AA patrol of the year, says: "While the forecasted unsettled weather may help take the sting out of the traffic, the August bank holiday is still one of the busiest travel periods of the year. There's also a packed schedule of sport, music and other events, which will generate localised congestion, particularly at finish time."

Preparation advice

Separately, AA/Populus results** show that many drivers aren't fully prepared for a long car journey in summer. While more than four-fifths (82% rising to 84% in East Midlands and Eastern England) take a fully-charged mobile phone, fewer carry basic items like food and drink (71% rising to 75% in North-west England) and a road atlas (69% rising to 76% in Eastern England).

Summer driving checklist - gender differences
Item Men (%) Women (%)
Fully-charged mobile 80 85
Sunglasses 73 78
Food and drink 68 78
Sat-nav or printed route 72 68
Road atlas 69 68
First aid kit 56 49
In-car mobile phone charger 48 37
Warning triangle 47 33
Personal medication 41 44
Tyre pump and pressure gauge 43 27
Reflective jacket/s 40 24
Spare bulbs 38 22
Items to keep children entertained 21 24
Spare engine oil 18 14

Tony Rich says: "At the very least, take plenty of drinking water and a charged mobile phone. On busy bank holiday roads, a sat-nav and road atlas will help in case of any unexpected diversions or delays.

"Before heading off, check the travel reports and spend a few minutes doing the basic checks on your car, paying particular attention to tyres, cooling system and operation of the cooling fan."

AA patrols and policy experts are available for interview on the bank holiday getaway; and more detailed survey results by television region, age and gender are available on request.

Traffic enquiries

For traffic updates, Trafficmaster's control centre is on 01234 759 100 (available 24/7) and Michael Savage, Trafficmaster's Head of UK Networks, is available on 07730 922 800 for comment on the traffic situation.


AA/Populus research summary – August bank holiday 2013

  • Up to 45% of respondents are likely to drive somewhere over the August bank holiday weekend: 19% already plan to drive somewhere and 26% are unsure but, if they go somewhere, they will probably drive;
  • Drivers in Northern Ireland (52%) and the North-east (51%) are most likely to be hitting the road, followed by those in Yorkshire & Humberside (48%);
  • 51% of respondents will not travel this bank holiday; and 5% are going away but not by car;
  • People in North-west, South-west and Wales (51%) are most likely to stay at home;
  • Of those likely to drive somewhere, a day trip (51%) is the most favoured outing/holiday; followed by a weekend away (27%); and going on or returning from a longer holiday (13%);
  • Respondents in Eastern England (56%) are most likely to be going on a day trip; the Northern Irish most favour a weekend away (34%); and those in the North-east, Yorkshire & Humberside, West Midlands, London and South-east (14%) are most likely to be packing their bags for a longer holiday;
  • Of those driving over August bank holiday, the most popular destinations are:
    • Coast/seaside (41%)
    • Visiting family (31%)
    • Special event eg. air show, motor racing, county show, sporting event (19%)
    • National park (15%)
    • Garden centre (10%)
    • Shopping/cinema (9%)
    • City visit (9%)
    • Theme park (4%)
    • Other (19%)
  • The distance that AA members intending to travel expect to drive is quite evenly distributed across the four days from Friday, 23 August, to Monday, 26 August. This averages out at about 62 to 63 miles per day on Friday and Monday and about 52 to 53 miles per day on Saturday and Sunday.

Traffic hotspots and roadworks

According to Trafficmaster, these are likely to be the top five August bank holiday traffic hotspots:

Road Section of road
A303 Westbound from M3 Junction 8 to A30 at Upottery, Devon
M25 Western sector both ways between Junction 21 (M1 interchange) and Junction 10 (A3 interchange); and South-eastern sector both ways between Dartford crossing and Junction 7 (M23)
M3/M27/A31 Southbound from Junction 9 (A34) to M27 at Junction 13; and M27/A31 westbound towards the Dorset coast
M4 Westbound from Junction 1 (Chiswick) to Junction 13 (Chieveley); and between Junction 18 (Bath) and Junction 20 (Almondsbury Interchange/M5)
M5 Westbound from Junction 15 (Almondsbury Interchange/M4) to Junction 31 (Exeter South)

(Source: Trafficmaster. Comprehensive list available upon request)

On Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday (25-26 August), traffic across much of the country is expected to be relatively quiet, unless the weather is exceptionally fine, when coastal routes are likely to be busy with day trippers.

During the late afternoon of Bank Holiday Monday (26 August) and the morning of Tuesday, 27 August, there will be heavier homebound traffic on the main holiday routes. It is expected, however, that the rest of the week (27-30 August) will be much quieter than usual on the roads with comparatively little commuter traffic, as many take advantage of a full week's break.


It is expected that all scheduled roadworks on trunk roads and motorways in England and Wales will be removed or suspended over the Bank Holiday weekend.


In Scotland, it isn't a bank holiday but the Edinburgh Festival runs till 1 September, which causes additional congestion in the capital.

Bank holiday getaway preparation advice

Plan your route in advance and allow plenty of time for the journey;

• Check local traffic and weather reports – call AA Roadwatch on 84322;

• Travel when the roads are quieter;

• If tired, stop and drink one or two cups of coffee or other caffeinated drink and take a short nap of no more than 15-20 minutes;

• As one of their AA Rewards, personal AA members get up to 20% off food and drink at Moto service areas when they show their membership card;

• Check oil, coolant and windscreen wash levels, cooling fan operation, lights and tyre pressure (check when tyres are cold and increase pressure for heavy loads if necessary) and tread depth – not forgetting the spare and any caravan/trailer – before hitting the road;

Pack the car safely being careful not to overload or obstruct vision;

• Keep plenty of refreshments on board and plan car games to keep children comfortable and happy throughout the journey.

The AA has produced a handy checklist of basic, year-round car checks using the acronym FLOWER – it can be downloaded or printed from its website:

Traffic information services

Trafficmaster's Live Traffic information service is available by calling 0906 470 1740 from your landline or 1740 from your mobile before you travel or during your journey for live traffic reports.

To help motorists beat the hotspots the number for the AA's traffic and weather information service, AA Roadwatch, is 84322 or enter 'the AA' on your mobile phone keypad or call 0906 88 84322 from a landline (calls cost up to 65p per minute at all times plus network extras).

View the current traffic news from AA Roadwatch.

Source: Populus interviewed 23,824 adults aged 18+ on The AA/Populus online panel between 8-14 August 2013*. Populus interviewed 23,450 adults aged 18+ on The AA/Populus online panel between 11-17 June 2013**. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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