Traffic levels on UK roads have reached their highest level since the coronavirus lockdown was introduced, new figures have revealed. Government data shows the number of vehicles being driven on Monday was 56% lower than in early February, but up by 3% compared with the same day last week.
Meanwhile fast food chains like KFC, Burger King and Greggs have already opened some outlets. The BBC reports that McDonald’s are looking at ways to re-open some of their drive-thru franchises too.
There is patchy anecdotal evidence that people are going out more; visiting friends and family, doing cash-in-hand jobs locally and simply driving a few miles to have a walk somewhere scenic. Facebook Marketplace and local Buy-Sell Groups are full of adverts by small traders offering home delivery on food, DIY materials, car/mobile phone/bicycle repairs, guttering, interior decorating and many more services.
Your IE editor is lucky enough to live within 400 metres of the M61 motorway near Greater Manchester, which now has a discernible roar of traffic even at 6am. Talk Radio host Mike Graham said that he had noticed a rise in traffic in London on Monday, although when we checked TfL live traffic cameras today traffic was very light on arterial roads in London.
Reacting to the news that motor vehicle traffic on Monday was at its highest weekday level since the coronavirus lockdown began, RAC Insurance spokesman Simon Williams said:
“Analysis of hundreds of thousands of RAC Insurance black box trips indicates the number of vehicles on the UK’s roads is rising.
“By the second week of the lockdown our data clearly showed the volume of vehicles being driven had fallen by 40%, but by the end of last week, this crept back up again by 10%. The number of separate trips being made by car has also risen by 14% since the beginning of April.
“With the lockdown still very much in force, it remains the case that none of us should be driving unless it’s for an essential trip. The fact we are now several weeks into the lockdown must not be used as an excuse to change our behaviour and venture out unnecessarily – our data seems to suggest some people may be finding more reasons to be on the road than earlier in April.”