IAM RoadSmart says that many will be making a last minute call regarding their Christmas travel plans this year.

In a survey of 1,000 UK drivers, the country's largest road safety charity revealed that 69 percent of drivers are still waiting for firmer government guidelines before finalising their travel plans for the festive period, which it says could give people less time "to prepare for potentially long journeys and make critical vehicle safety checks."

Of those that regularly travel more than 150 miles at Christmas time, 40 percent of those said that they would no longer stop at services or other places during their journeys because of concerns regarding the pandemic.

Services sign

Men were most likely to have that outlook with more than half (56 percent) saying they would no longer stop when they usually would, while only 27 percent of women said they'd be unlikely to make stops this year.

Drivers from Scotland and London are most likely to forego stops for breaks on long journeys during Christmas this year, with 67 percent and 64 percent respectively saying they wouldn't stop.

More than a quarter of Christmas travellers (27 percent) insisted that they still intending to travel more than 100 miles over the festive period this year.

"Our research shows that unsurprisingly COVID-19 will have a significant impact on travel plans over Christmas this year," said Neil Greig, policy and research director at IAM RoadSmart. "While it’s understandable that ongoing uncertainty and safety concerns over exposing relatives to the virus has caused many people to postpone their planning, it is important that critical safety steps, such as making vehicle maintenance checks and stopping regularly during long journeys are not overlooked.

"Taking a break on a long car journey is essential for the driver, and passengers, to recharge their batteries. Spending too long behind-the-wheel in one stint can lead to drowsiness and a loss of concentration with potentially catastrophic consequences for all road users. Our advice is to take at least a 15-minute break every two hours.

"The festive season is a busy period for many of us, and this year it will likely be even more challenging as Coronavirus continues to impact our everyday lives.

"But road safety and – taking sensible precautions – is everyone’s responsibility when driving, no matter what other pressures are at play. So, we urge everyone to make sure they leave time for important safety measures as they make their travel plans this Christmas."