More than 14m leisure journeys expected this weekend

This year’s Easter traffic jams are set to start two weeks early as schools break up this weekend, the RAC has said.

According to the motoring organisation’s research, drivers will make around 14 million leisure trips between Friday, April 5, and the end of the weekend. Friday is expected to be the busiest day, with some 5.3 trips predicted on top of the usual commuter traffic, while Saturday and Sunday are expected to see around five and four million journeys respectively.

The busiest times are expected to be between 3pm and 7pm on Friday, while the Saturday rush will start earlier, at 10am, before quietening down again at 3pm. Sunday, meanwhile, is expected to see the traffic build between 11am and 3pm.

Traffic in Surrey on the A3 motorway Woking UK

The RAC also warned that weather conditions could compound the misery in some parts of the country, with “unseasonably cool” temperatures at the beginning of the weekend and even some snow predicted on higher ground in the north. And although the weather is set to get warmer towards the tail end of the weekend, scattered showers are still forecast.

And the organisation says drivers should expect another “substantial wave of congestion” in two weeks’ time as motorists set out to enjoy the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

Motorway traffic jam after accident on the M40 in Warwickshire UK

RAC traffic spokesperson Rod Dennis said drivers should be prepared for showery weather, and those setting out on long journeys should carry out a few simple checks to help prevent breakdowns.

“With the Easter bank holiday falling so late this year we are expecting to see a double wave of getaway traffic – firstly at the end of this week, and then again two weeks later for the four-day weekend,” he said. “We’re hopeful the weather won’t cause drivers too many issues through this coming weekend, but everyone should be ready for some typical short, sharp April showers, with even the possibility of some snow on higher ground in the north.

“This can be a busy time of year for our patrols so we strongly urge motorists to check over their vehicles before they set out. This is particularly important for people driving long distances. Spending just a few moments to check oil, coolant, together with tyre tread depth and pressures, can mean the difference between a long but completed journey and one disrupted by an inconvenient, and perhaps preventable, breakdown that ruins the start of a holiday.”

Evening traffic jam on the M1 motorway in Watford UK