Surge in motorists to hit UK roads this weekend as lockdown measures eased further
Tourism hotspots are awaiting an influx of people after seeing a huge spike in bookings ahead of “super Saturday”.
Tourist hotspots in England are awaiting huge influx of people from towns and cities as more than 10 million people will hit the road this weekend as holiday restrictions are eased.
Some 31 percent of drivers – equivalent to 10.5 million – will be using a car for an overnight trip, according to an RAC poll.
From Saturday, people in England will be permitted to spend the night away from their home for the first time in more than three months.
Tourism firms say they have seen a huge spike in bookings after Boris Johnson announced he was cutting the two-metre rule to “one metre plus” and allowing visitors to stay away overnight.
But holidaymakers will find restrictions at pubs and restaurants and many premises may remain closed.
The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of wind covering Northern England and parts of Scotland for Sunday, and rain is expected across much of the UK.
Emergency services are preparing for a weekend that could be as busy as New Year’s Eve, with police federation leaders warning the public will be “out in droves”
In Newcastle, just one in three pubs, bars and restaurants will be open for business, with publicans fearing “total chaos” as drinkers head out for their first pint.
Greater Manchester Police officers have had their leave cancelled as they mount a “significant operation” as pubs reopen.
Police had to warn campers to stay away from the Lake District until lockdown restrictions ease this weekend and then only stay at official sites after hundreds of people were caught illegally camping.
The RAC survey of 1,400 drivers suggested that this weekend 11 per cent will stay over at a family member’s home, eight percent will be at a friend’s home and six percent will go camping.
A further six percent will either spend the weekend at a caravan site, in self-catered accommodation or at a hotel, bed and breakfast or second home.
Motorways and major A-roads could end up taking the brunt of the traffic if people have longer distances to drive to see family and friends or to take a weekend break, it said.
RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said: “These figures suggest that after 15 weeks of lockdown, a large proportion of drivers in England are desperate to reconnect with friends, family and indeed nature by staying overnight, be that in a house or on a camping or caravan site.
“This could lead to some busy conditions on the roads, with the location of queues likely to be dependent on just how far people travel.”
“While our research suggests weekend traffic could be the heaviest of the year so far, a breakdown has the potential to make matters even worse.”