Aside from Christmas, no holiday strikes fear into the heart of drivers like Easter. With so many motorists on the move over a single weekend, traffic hits new levels of horrible between Good Friday and Easter Monday. And given this year’s Easter celebrations fall so early (25th March), getaway traffic is expected to be worse than ever, as thousands look to escape the 9 to 5 ahead of the long wait untilthe next Bank Holiday.
If you plan to hit the road over the Easter weekend, there are things you can do to enjoy a relatively stress-free journey. From avoiding traffic hotspots to keeping the kids entertained, here we provide simple tips for a hassle-free Easter holiday.
Roads to Avoid this Easter
Depending on where they lead, some roads attract more traffic than others when the country gets a four day weekend. Even with the Highways Agency’s promise that 98% of A roads and motorways will be free from road works during the weekend, traffic is expected to stack up at hotspots across the country.
According to the AA, the busiest stretches to avoid over the Easter weekend include:
• M1 — Junction 6A (M25 interchange) to Junction 13
• M5 — Junction 15 (Almondsbury) to Junction 31 (Exeter)
• M6 — Junction 4A (West Midlands) to Junction 21A (Lancashire)
• M25 — Both ways from Junction 14 to Junction 17 (Heathrow Airport, M4, M40 Interchange)
So if you were planning on taking any of these routes, grab the map book and start planning an alternative route. If your Easter road trip doesn’t overlap any of these traffic hotspots, you could be in the clear. Just remember to check the local traffic report, and plan ahead if there are signs of any mounting queues or tailbacks.
Tips for a Stress-Free Journey
Whether popping to your local garden centre or travelling across the country to see family, even the shortest Easter weekend trip can be plagued by congestion. To keep a cool head however long the tailbacks, here are some simple tips for an easy Easter drive.
Watch the Weather
While we’re all praying for a sunny weekend, it is still March and the Easter forecast could change at a moment’s notice. An early-April shower is liable to cause lengthy tailbacks, as drivers slow to avoid dangerous puddles and spray. If it’s forecast rain at your time of departure, double your journey time and expect delays. At peak times (Thursday evening and Monday evening), move your travel time if a shower is forecast as you can virtually guarantee heavy traffic and jams in such conditions.
Check Tyres Before Travel…
For some drivers the Easter road trip will be the first major drive of 2016, so check your car before setting off, paying close attention to tyre pressure. Tyre pressures can dip in winter or when the car is left to stand for a while, so you might need to top them up. Also, if you’re travelling with more passengers and luggage than normal, it’s a good idea to pump your tyres to a higher pressure. Your car’s manual should detail recommended tyre pressures when carrying heavy loads.
As we always say on the Redex blog, you should check your fluid levels before every long journey, including engine oil, coolant/antifreeze and screen wash. Run out of any of these on the road and you’ll almost certainly break down — or at the very least have a very dirty wind screen. Checking your car’s fluid levels takes five minutes, and it could save your Easter holiday.
Break Up Your Journey
Plan to drive for over three hours, and you should break up your journey into bite size stints so you don’t nod off or cramp up behind the wheel. As the electronic motorways boards always tell us, tiredness can kill, so make sure to take a break every two hours. If you’re driving on the motorway, why not plan your pit stops to coincide with one of the UK’s best motorway service stations.
Even if your children are quite patient, they’re bound to get bored after an hour or so cooped up in the back of the car — especially if you hit traffic. Pack plenty of entertainment for your kids to help them bust boredom; magnetic mini board games or a trusty tablet are always good for killing an hour or two. You could also create some Easter related fun – take a packet of mini chocolate eggs to use as prizes for games like 20 Questions.
Carry a Sat Nav and Phone Charger
When queues strike, you need an escape route — and a sat nav or smartphone can provide one. Most up-to-date navigation systems will try and find an alternative route around traffic hotspots, and a mobile app like Google Maps will do the same. Just remember to carry the device’s charger, else you’ll be left trying to read a map before the traffic takes hold.
Whatever your plans this Easter weekend, you’ll go further with Redex. Our petrol and diesel fuel additives are developed to get more from every tank of fuel, so you can save money over every mile of your journey. To find out more, visit the Redex website.