Motorists are being told to expect “hectic” traffic during what is expected to be the busiest late May bank holiday weekend on the roads since 2019.
A survey of 2,138 drivers for the RAC indicated that 19.2 million leisure car trips will take place across the UK between Friday and Monday.
The worst traffic over the four days is expected on Friday, when people embarking on bank holiday getaways will compete for road space with commuters.
They include clockwise from Junction 23 for Hatfield to Junction 28 for Chelmsford, and anticlockwise towards the Dartford Crossing.
Long delays are also expected on the M5 in Somerset and the M6 in Cheshire and Greater Manchester.
RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said: “With the travel restrictions imposed during Covid now thankfully a distant memory, it’s clear drivers’ desire to get away has been reignited, with our figures for this coming weekend suggesting leisure traffic volumes will be close to what we last saw in 2019.
“The Met Office currently predicts largely settled weather with above-average temperatures so we’re expecting this to be a hectic period on major roads as people aim to make the most of the last long weekend before August.
“With so many households under the cosh financially, we’re concerned that a lack of essential maintenance might lead to more avoidable breakdowns than we’d normally see.
“A quick look at oil and coolant levels, together with checking tyres are in good condition and inflated properly, can go a long way to avoiding an unwelcome stop at the side of the road this weekend.”
The survey was conducted by research company Find Out Now.
Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, said: “With near record-breaking travellers expected to be on the road for the bank holiday, drivers should expect long delays, especially in and around major cities, as commuters mix with holiday traffic.
“On average, INRIX predicts travel times could be nearly 30% longer than normal.”