The Christmas season brings joy and happiness to families across the country as we come together for the holidays. But it can also be a nightmare, especially when trying to navigate the Christmas traffic. Using the songs of Chris Rea, “Driving Home for Christmas” can soon turn into the “Road to Hell”. So Creditplus have brought together a list of the most congested roads and areas in the country to avoid, to help you have a merry Christmas.
The United Kingdom currently sits second in the list of most congested countries compiled by INRIX, a global traffic and motoring services provider. The UK sits one place behind Belgium, with British drivers wasting an average of 30.3 hours per year stuck in traffic.
Unsurprisingly, the worst area for congestion is within the London Commute Zone. According to the INRIX traffic report, drivers wasted an average of 82 hours sat in traffic, making London the most congested out of all the cities measured. In second place was Greater Manchester, with an average of 46 hours wasted sat in traffic. Completing the top three is Merseyside, with 39 hours wasted in traffic. So if you are thinking of heading out shopping in London or the North West, you may want to consider public transport (or online shopping!).
1. London Commute Zone – 82 hours wasted
2. Greater Manchester – 46 hours wasted
3. Merseyside – 39 hours wasted
4. South Nottinghamshire – 39 hours wasted
5. Greater Birmingham – 33 hours wasted
6. Greater Belfast – 31 hours wasted
7. South Yorkshire – 26 hours wasted
8. Leeds to Bradford – 25 hours wasted
9. Avon & North Somerset – 24 hours wasted
10. Portsmouth to Fareham – 24 hours wasted
News doesn’t get any better for London drivers when it comes to the busiest roads, with the entire top 10 of busiest roads being found in the capital city. Taking the top two spots was the A4, with both directions causing vast amounts of suffering for drivers between the M4 and Central London. Next is the A215 between Camberwell and the Croydon junction, followed by the A217 Morden and Chelsea.
Outside of London, the A5081 in Manchester is especially bad with a 0.7mph average speed during the rush hour. Other bad roads include the A36 in Hampshire (3.4mph average rush hour speed) and Skipton Road in Harrogate (1.5mph average rush hour speed).
1. London A4 – Central London to M4
2. London A4 – M4 to Central London
3. London A215 – Camberwell to Croydon junction
4. London A217 – Morden to Chelsea
5. London A1/A1(M) – Finchley to Barbican
6. London A23 – Croydon to Westminster Bridge Road
7. London A205 – Catford to Woolwich Ferry
8. London A41 – Central London to M1
9. London A12 – Stratford to M25
10. London A406 – Chiswick Roundabout to Neasden Junction
The coming General Election has meant a large number of improvement works have begun in a bid to win votes. This means more travel chaos this Christmas. Auto Express conducted a survey and found that the worst roadworks of 2014 could be found in Coventry on the A45-A46 Tollbar Island. Also on the list were roads in Worcestershire, Derby and Nottingham.
If you are planning a long journey home this Christmas, you may want to use roadworks.org, a free online tool for tracking planned and current roadworks. It gives you updates on where traffic is likely to build, and also monitors repairs to water pipes and gas works which can also cause delay. Google maps also comes with a real time traffic update, so you can see any delays to your journey and plot alternate routes.
For those making a long journey this Christmas, you are not alone. Over the Christmas period last year, 13 million drivers took to the roads to either shop or travel, with the busiest period taking place between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. If you are planning on taking a long journey, make sure you are prepared. The roads are busier, tempers are raised by the stress of Christmas shopping. Don’t get caught up in the mess that is Christmas traffic. If you are prepared and plan ahead, then driving home for Christmas can be an easy start to the festive holiday.
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