How to avoid traffic delays during the late May bank holiday weekend

May 02, 2024 by

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Long bank holidays are great for a weekend away, a day trip to the coast or for seeing friends and family, but when are the best and worst times to travel? Read on…

Traffic is always busier over the May bank holiday weekend and this year you could be one of 22 million drivers expected to take leisure trips, according to predictions by the RAC and INRIX, making it the busiest period of the year so far for UK’s roads. Other research by Peugeot says 32% of drivers (approximately 13.5 million people) will travel an average of 149 miles, making a total of two billion miles between 24 and 27 May 2024.  

You can expect Friday 24th May to be the peak day for traffic when four million trips are planned as the late May bank holiday weekend starts and schools also break-up for half term. You are recommended to start your journey after 6pm to miss the worst congestion.

Listen our for the latest traffic alerts if driving over the late May bank holiday weekend

If you can, the busiest section of motorway to avoid over the long weekend is expected to be the M25 clockwise between junction seven (for the M23) and junction 21 (for the M1) with delays of over an hour and a half likely. Roadworks to install 24 additional smart motorway emergency refuge areas on the M25 could also add to traffic delays. 

The M5 southbound is a stretch of motorway that always sees a lot of traffic on a bank holiday weekend, particularly the 45 mile section between junction 16 north of Bristol and junction 25 for Taunton. This weekend, it could take you over an hour longer to get through than at other times.

On Saturday 26th May, you’re advised to start your journey as early as possible as traffic is expected to peak between 3pm to 6pm. 

If you‘re planning to head home at the end of the week, traffic is expected to be highest on Friday 31st May.

Weekend traffic hotspots for the late May bank holiday 2024:

  • M25: clockwise J7 (M23) to J21 (M1); anticlockwise towards M23
  • M5: southbound between J16 (north of Bristol) and J25 (Taunton)
  • M3: southbound towards the coast and ferry ports
  • A34: southbound towards the south coast
  • A14: eastbound towards the coast

Top tips for your bank holiday weekend travel

Before any long journey it’s always wise to check you have the essentials in your car, especially if you haven’t done a big trip for a while. 

Some other tips to make your journey safer and stress-free, include:

  • Check your insurance and breakdown cover is up to date
  • Check tyre pressures and inspect them for damage (including the spare tyre, if fitted)
  • Check your first aid kit. Has anything gone out of date?
  • Plan your route and look at satellite images of your destination on Google maps
  • If you need to charge an electric vehicle en route, plan where to charge an EV
  • Check if your car needs a service or MOT before you go
  • Check if you’re going to be driving into a clean air zone (CAZ) – and avoid unwanted penalties by entering your car’s registration number in Carwow’s CAZ checker
  • Going abroad? Check the latest rules and regulations for driving in Europe 
Peak traffic over bank holiday weekends will make all services busy – and some EV charging points: plan ahead to know alternative places to stop

And if you decide you’d like to sell your car or change it before the next bank holiday weekend in May, here’s Carwow’s 10 best cars for long distance driving.

Looking for an easy way to change your car? Then Carwow is the place to go. You can sell your old car for a great price, and get the best deals on a new one. All through our network of trusted dealers and all from the comfort of your home. Tap the button below to get started today.