Drivers are planning on making an estimated 45m daytrips in August, according to a survey conducted by RAC Breakdown,with more than a quarter (28%) saying they will be taking more outings than last year – perhaps indicating the extent of the COVID-19 staycation.
While these figures do not include overnight stays which are likely to increase traffic volumes still further, they show half of all the drivers questioned (49%) will be packing up the car for a day at the seaside or heading out for a look around a city or to spend time at tourist spot or attraction before the end of the month.
Among the 28% who said they will be making more daytrips this August than last the largest percentage (13%) plan on taking one or two trips which equates to an estimated 6m days out. Ten per cent say they will make three to five times – or around 12.4m trips, while 5% will do so six or more times accounting for some 9.3m trips.
In comparison to the 28% who claim they will have more days out this month than last August, only a fifth (22%) of those surveyed said they intend on taking the same number (11%) or fewer trips (11%) than they did last August, implying that coronavirus-related fears associated with international travel are leading to more people making the most of the UK.
The combination of uncertainty over overseas holidays, plus demand for UK staycations means that traffic is especially bad around national parks, places like St Ives, Brighton, Bournemouth, Abersoch etc and there is more potential for minor accidents in car parks, and on-street, as drivers try to squeeze their vehicle into ever fewer parking spaces.
Of those that said they will have the same number of days out in August 2020, one or two daytrips was the most popular answer with 8% choosing that option, equating to around 3.7m days out.
More than a third (38%) – or the equivalent of nearly 12m drivers – who would normally make some daytrips have decided to do without any this August while 13% said they are not in the habit of going out in the car for the day in August.
RAC Breakdown spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Our research shows that August is set to be a massive month for daytrips as families look to try to make the most of what’s left of the school holidays and pack in some family fun now the lockdown has been eased. With forecasters also predicting a sustained period of hot weather for many southern parts of the UK, it could well tempt even higher numbers to get out and about at the last minute.
“Drivers setting out on longer trips should make sure they check their cars are in good working order. It’s important to check the oil and coolant levels and that tyres are pumped up to the correct pressures and have sufficient tread.
“If cars are overdue their services, we strongly recommend getting them booked in as soon as possible to help reduce the chances of suffering an unwanted breakdown mid-journey. We’re also encouraging drivers whose vehicles may have had their MOT due date extended during the pandemic to get them booked in well ahead of their new due dates to avoid the rush likely to occur from October when the first extended MOTs will need to be carried out.
“Anyone taking a day trip should also make sure they travel well prepared just in case the worst happens and they find themselves broken down at the side of the road. Food and drink and waterproof coats are a must, as is a fully charged mobile phone.
“It’s also vital that you don’t travel without good breakdown cover. We know from experience that the work our teams do out on the roads and at people’s home gives the complete peace of mind needed to enjoy the freedom vehicles provide.”
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