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Millions of drivers are set to pack up their cars and enjoy the last bank holiday before the next one in August and with traffic congestion set to be at an all-time high, Halfords and TomTom have teamed up to offer motorists advice on staying on the road and keeping stress-free this bank holiday. 

Research by Halfords revealed that 25 per cent of drivers don’t check their car before heading out on a long journey which could spell bank holiday trouble for many, while a staggering 51 per cent of young drivers (between ages 25-34)   are likely to continue driving their vehicle even if they are aware it has a fault. 

The poll also found that 25 per cent don’t bother checking their oil levels before heading out which could mean a short bank holiday trip, while the stats also revealed that 35 per cent of drivers are unaware that their front and back tyres need different pressures. 

As a result of these findings Halfords is offering motorists a free bank holiday checks at all of its shops. Working with TomTom they have revealed the best times to plan to travel. 

Brits need to be cautious of traffic this coming bank holiday, as TomTom’s historic records of previous bank holidays show that on average:

  • Friday afternoon and evening is likely to be busy with up to 50 minute delays expected on the M5 between 4-9pm, and over 60 minute delays on the M1 between 3PM-6PM. Therefore, it is advised to travel in the morning and avoid 4pm-7pm across all routes.
  • For Brits travelling to the Southwestern coast, the A303 is very busy from 8am-2pm on Saturday, with up to 60 minute increase in travel time.
  • On Saturday 28th it is very busy around noon (10AM-2PM) on all routes so it is advised to avoid traveling at this time of day.
  • On Monday 30th it can be very busy in the afternoon (12PM-7PM), with exception of the M1 and M5, which are likely to be calm. Therefore, it is advised to travel in the morning or the evening on other routes.

Natasha Chauhan from Halfords said: “Bank holiday road trips can be tiring as drivers put up with rowdy passengers, roadworks and wrong directions, so when it comes to having a less stressful bank holiday being prepared pays dividends.

“Our research also shows that only a quarter of drivers get their cars checked four months or less. Although, these are fairly simple it is important they are carried out frequently to help avoid hassle on road trips, which becomes especially tricky when we’re expecting delays or jams. If you’re unsure then pop in to Halfords for a free bank holiday car check before you set off.”

A TomTom spokesperson said “The technology to plan the best routes for any journey already exists.  We want to help people better understand how to use it and to ensure they spend less time at standstill and more time doing the things they love most. Follow our top tips for a smoother and more predictable journey”.

TomTom’s Go range is also available from Halfords and includes the TomTom GO 6200 (RRP £339.99) and TomTom Go 5200 (RRP £299.99). 

Thanks to Wi-Fi, all updates are automatic so no more wires or computers are needed. The real-time, super accurate, traffic information and Lifetime Services are a bonus at no additional cost. There's even voice recognition using developed AI platforms like Siri for accurate responses. The updates, which take advantage of that new Wi-Fi feature, include Lifetime TomTom Traffic, Lifetime Maps and Lifetime Speed Camera alerts.

Using historic traffic records they have compiled a list of the UK’s ten most popular bank holiday routes and included the best times to travel. 

Best times to travel:

M5 - between Exeter and Bristol

 

  • Friday before 4PM or after 9PM
  • Saturday before 10AM and after 6PM
  • Monday unlikely to be busy

M1 - between Luton and Sheffield

 

  • Friday before 12PM or after 7PM
  • Saturday before 10AM or after 2PM
  • Monday unlikely to be busy

M6 - between Preston and Penrith

  • Friday morning or early afternoon, until 4PM
  • Saturday before 9AM and after 6PM
  • Monday before 12PM and after 7PM

M40 - between Uxbridge and Oxford

  • Friday before 11AM and after 5PM
  • Saturday before 11AM or after 6PM
  • Monday before 3PM or after 4PM

A303 – between Andover and Yeovil

  • Friday before 3PM and after 7PM
  • Saturday before 8AM or after 2PM
  • Monday before 2PM or after 5PM


TomTom and Halfords’ tips to help you enjoy a stress free journey for the bank holiday weekend include: 

  1. With 50% of car owners estimated to have a sat nav in the car make the best use of your device, plan your route the night before and check for any unexpected delays (e.g. road closures) https://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/traffic-news/cities (select your home city)
  2. Avoid travelling at peak times – try leaving the house early in the morning and returning from your trip late at night. According to Halfords’ YouGov research delays are cited as the number one reason for stressful journeys (63%)
  3. Always allow extra time for your journey so you arrive on time, even in the event of a delay 
  4. Update your TomTom device to ensure you have the most recent traffic information 
  5. Visit http://www.halfords.com/camping-leisure?cm_re=mmcampingleisure-_-CampingLeisure-_-CampingLeisure for further staycation ideas 

Research taken from Halfords’ You Gov report and Halfords’ Parent Panel. 

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