Nearly 18 million motorists predicted to travel on UK roads in the lead-up to Christmas
Almost 18 million people will take to the roads during the festive period, with 23 December and Christmas Eve looking to be the busiest days.
Christmas Day will be one of the quietest days, with more than 14.5 million motorists travelling, the AA said.
Meanwhile, 18 December is projected to be the busiest Saturday, with over 16.5 million motorists heading out to complete Christmas shopping, while New Year’s Day is predicted to be the quietest day on the roads, with 8.9 million drivers out and about.
The AA’s predictions have been made based on a survey of more than 15,000 drivers and government data on the number of licenced cars on Britain’s roads.
Of those who are driving, almost a third plan to do so for work on 16 December (31%) and 17 December (28%), after which business-based travel drops off until the new year.
Compared to previous years, it is believed that 2018 is the current record high, with the number of drivers on the road reaching more than 18 million, while the figure dropped to more than 17 million a year later.
The AA said there were expected to be delays to journey times on some stretches of motorway, including the M25, the M5 between Bristol and Weston-Super-Mare and the M6 around Birmingham.
In addition, stretches of the M1 “smart” motorway from Luton northwards can often suffer congestion from incidents or breakdowns, as can the M62 and M60 in the North West, while both the M4 and the M27 are also set to suffer from significant delays, the AA adds.
Edmund King, AA president, said: “It’s a bumper-to-bumper Christmas this year as people want to make up for lost time. Providing there are no formal restrictions in travel or socialising, millions are ready to spend time with their friends and family.
“The change in working practices with increased home working means we could see a spread of traffic across these days rather than a chaotic evening rush.”