The RAC expects “unprecedented” traffic levels on UK roads this summer as drivers embark on more than 29 million UK holidays. The motoring organisation’s study of 2,500 British drivers found the number of people with firm bookings for UK holidays has risen 20 percent since April.

The figures suggest the number of drivers expecting to travel abroad has fallen, down from 10 percent in April to just seven percent now. And of those who still plan to travel abroad, 34 percent said they would holiday in the UK if their plans are affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Of those holidaying in the UK, the RAC survey suggests nine in 10 (90 percent) will use cars to make the journey, while a further five percent will be towing a caravan or trailer. Another five percent will use motorhomes when they travel. With that volume of traffic hitting the roads of the UK, the RAC is expecting traffic to build on stretches of the UK motorway and A-road network.

UK motorway traffic

According to the data, destinations in the west of England – Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset – will take almost a third (30 percent) of the holidaymakers, while Scotland will see 14 percent of drivers arrive this summer. Yorkshire, meanwhile, is set to receive eight percent of holidaymakers, while the Lake District and East Anglia will both welcome six percent of the total.

However, the RAC says it’s difficult to predict when the traffic will build, with 18 percent of respondents claiming not to have nailed down a date for their trips. The organisation says this data suggests people are looking for last-minute deals or choosing to wait for a gap in the great British weather.

Evening traffic on busiest British motorway M25

“With the school summer holidays less than two weeks away, a second ‘staycation summer’ in a row now looks like a certainty and will mean millions of us relying on our cars to get us wherever we want to go,” said RAC Breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis. “Our research shows that while most people have already made their plans, if – as expected – travel restrictions limit the numbers taking foreign holidays, then those booking last-minute trips in the UK will likely soar, adding to what we expect to already be an extremely busy summer on the roads.

“Our research also suggests a possible prolonged summer season this year – the return of children to schools in September doesn’t look like it will signal a huge drop in summer holidays, with a third of drivers saying they’re planning to take a UK staycation in September. Our research also suggests longer trips will be much more popular this year, with a third of those drivers who had a holiday in the UK last year planning on covering a greater distance in 2021.”