Heavy traffic is expected this weekend after research from the RAC suggested almost 11 million motorists are planning getaways by road. The first bank holiday weekend after the removal of many lockdown restrictions is expected to see drivers hit the roads to visit friends and family members, or to escape the daily grind.

The RAC’s study of 1,100 drivers revealed an estimated 10.8 million leisure trips will be made by car between Friday, May 28 and Monday, May 31. Sunday and the bank holiday itself are expected to be the busiest days of the weekend, with more than two million separate journeys each day.

If the weather is good, the RAC expects the roads to get even busier. According to the motoring organisation’s research, 3.6 million drivers are set to take journeys at some point over the weekend, but they haven’t decided when. The RAC says those drivers will wait to see what the weather does before making their decision.

Heavy traffic during rush hour in Manchester city center UK

The research also showed the effect of relaxed coronavirus restrictions and a drop in cases over the past few weeks. Just one in 10 drivers (11 percent) isn’t planning a leisure trip this weekend, compared with 18 percent over the early May bank holiday and 25 percent over Easter.

With that in mind, the RAC has joined forces with Highways England, the government-run organisation in charge of the country’s motorways and major A-roads, to urge drivers to ensure their vehicles are ready for the journeys. The two organisations are asking motorists to check their tyres, oil, coolant and screenwash, in a bid to reduce the chances of a breakdown.

Heavy traffic on the M1 motorway near Salford Bedfordshire England UK

“With Covid-19 restrictions gradually lifting and some better weather on the horizon at last, we’re anticipating large numbers of drivers to be venturing out and about over the bank holiday weekend,” said RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous. “The fact only one in 10 said they weren’t planning a trip because of the virus, down from a quarter over Easter, shows people now have more confidence to drive to see friends and family safely.

“Our research points to Saturday and Monday being the busiest days, but in reality, there’s a good chance the weather will have the final say as to how busy the roads get. A return to more typical late May temperatures and an end to the recent wind and rain could spark a sudden surge in journeys and mean some routes – especially those to the coasts and hills – start to clog up.

“Drivers can help my colleagues and I have a better bank holiday weekend by making sure their vehicles are in good working order, something that’s particularly important for anyone driving longer distances. Taking a few minutes to check tyres and fluid levels before setting out could very easily make the difference between a plain-sailing journey and one beset by a breakdown.”