This bank holiday weekend is expected to be the busiest Late May Bank Holiday on UK roads since 2019, according to a new study. Research from the RAC and transport analytics company Inrix suggests an estimated 19.2 million leisure journeys will be made by car this weekend, leading to congestion on several major routes.

The organisations’ survey of more than 2,000 motorists suggests many are planning to get away by road at some point over the weekend, with some three million leisure journeys expected on Friday (May 26) alone. That traffic is expected to mix with normal business and commuter traffic to leave long delays on UK motorways and A-roads.

However, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (May 27, 28 and 29) are also expected to be busy, with around 3.3 million leisure journeys expected each day. Whether that traffic will cause more jams remains to be seen, though, as it will not be mingling with so many commercial vehicles and commuters.

Traffic on M6 motorway

According to Inrix, the M25 will be a “hotspot for traffic jams” across the weekend, and the firm expects journeys on some stretches, including clockwise from J23 for Hatfield to J28 for Chelmsford and anticlockwise towards the Dartford crossing, to be up to three times longer than normal. Delays are also expected on the M5 in Somerset and the M6 in Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

The RAC expressed concern that some vehicles may not be properly prepared for their journeys, particularly in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, and asked drivers to ensure their vehicles are serviced before setting out. The company also advised drivers to carry out simple checks to help reduce the chance of a breakdown.

“With the travel restrictions imposed during Covid now thankfully a distant memory, it’s clear drivers’ desire to getaway has been reignited with our figures for this coming weekend suggesting leisure traffic volumes will be close to what we last saw in 2019,” said RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis. “The Met Office currently predicts largely settled weather with above average temperatures so we’re expecting this to be a hectic period on major roads as people aim to make the most of the last long weekend before August – and that means it will be a busy time for our patrols too.

“With so many households under the cosh financially, we’re concerned that a lack of essential maintenance might lead to more avoidable breakdowns than we’d normally see. So we’re reminding everyone to ensure their cars are as ready for a getaway as they can be. A quick look at oil and coolant levels, together with checking tyres are in good condition and inflated properly, can go a long way to avoiding an unwelcome stop at the side of the road this weekend.”

M6 motorway traffic moving at speed in UK