UK drivers currently spend an average of 31 hours in traffic each year, according to research put together by traffic information supplier Inrix. This amount of time in gridlock costs motorists £1,168 due to the fuel and time wasted, not to mention the higher freighting fees.
“There is no silver bullet to sorting out congestion,” RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis commented. “Ring-fenced funding for improving England’s major roads from 2021 should help, but there also needs to be an emphasis placed on providing cheap, practical, reliable alternatives to the car — especially in urban areas.
“In the meantime, urban planners should be looking at how we can maximise vehicle flow — looking at traffic light sequencings, reducing the amount of time roadworks are live on roads and seeing what impact reducing road space for vehicles is having on journey times.”
Knowing where and when is worst for traffic jams throughout the UK could also help, as drivers will be able to know the places and times to avoid being on the road if possible. Assisting with this is Vindis, who can also provide you with an Audi service plan to help you avoid more nightmares when driving, as they have compiled the following research…
The UK’s worst places for traffic
Arguably the most obvious fact that will come out of this article is that London is a city where you’re likely to encounter traffic jams. According to the earlier mentioned data gathered by Inrix, the UK’s capital is the second most congested city across the whole of Europe, and drivers can face 73 hours each year in traffic.
There’s more than just London which has waiting times that go into double figures across the UK though. Manchester, Lincoln, Birmingham, Braintree, Aylesbury, Bath, Luton, and Guildford are all English destinations with waiting times between 25 and 40 hours. Motorists in Scotland won’t always have clear roads either, with those in Aberdeen and Edinburgh expected to lose 28 hours a year due to traffic jams at peak times, while in Wales the most congested city — with 24 hours per year of waiting times — is Newport.
Traffic jams aren’t exclusive to just cities, however. Some of the worst instances of congestion can be found on motorways and major routes on outskirts as drivers complete their commute. Therefore, here’s the UK’s top 10 most congested roads, again gathered by Inrix:
- A406 Northbound, Chiswick Roundabout to Hanger Lane, London. Drivers can expect to lose 73 hours per year on this route.
- A2 Eastbound, New Cross Gate to Prince Charles Road, London. Drivers can expect to lose 62 hours per year on this route.
- A3211 Eastbound, Westminster Bridge to London Bridge, London. Drivers can expect to lose 57 hours per year on this route.
- A102 Northbound, A2/Kidbrooke to Blackwall Tunnel, London. Drivers can expect to lose 51 hours per year on this route.
- A4200 Southbound, Russell Square to Aldwych, London. Drivers can expect to lose 50 hours per year on this route.
- A1 Southbound, College Gardens to Wallace Park, Belfast. Drivers can expect to lose 49 hours per year on this route.
- A308 Eastbound, Putney Bridge Approach to Sloane Square, London. Drivers can expect to lose 46 hours per year on this route.
- A431 Westbound, Bryants Hill to Lawrence Hill, Bristol. Drivers can expect to lose 45 hours per year on this route.
- A24 Northbound, Ormeau Road to Ann Street, Belfast. Drivers can expect to lose 45 hours per year on this route.
- A6 Northbound, Macclesfield Road to Heaton Lane, Manchester. Drivers can expect to lose 44 hours per year on this route.
Deciding when to drive
Unless you really need to, it will be wise to try and avoid taking a trip in a vehicle during the rush hour. Highlighting this point is car insurance experts Admiral, which compared the travel time of routes into various major city centres for a 9am arrival on a Monday morning when compared to 9am on a Sunday morning.
Cambridge took top spot in their study, as 72 extra minutes can be added to a rush hour journey when compared to motorists driving along the same route during the quietest time of the week. This was followed by Leeds (51 extra minutes) and Manchester (47 additional minutes). The full top 10 is as follows:
- Cambridge — 72 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Leeds — 51 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Manchester — 47 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Sheffield — 46 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Edinburgh — 45 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Birmingham — 43 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Bristol — 43 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Cardiff — 41 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Aberdeen — 38 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- London — 38 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
Again, we feel it’s important to look just beyond city centres for this research. Admiral is once more on hand as they conducted research to find the UK’s most congested routes. According to their data, the route from Dartford to Trafalgar Square around London is the nation’s most congested route. Motorists can expect a staggering 225 per cent increase in driving time during the morning rush hour along this stretch of road. Romford to Trafalgar Square, again in London, didn’t fare much better, with driving time witnessing a 214 per cent increase throughout the morning rush hour.
The most congested routes in the UK when not taking London into account were Chepstow to Cabot Circus in Bristol (a 200 per cent increase in driving time during the morning rush hour), Halton to St George’s Hall in Liverpool (a 192 per cent jump in driving time throughout the morning rush hour), and Washington to the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle (a 192 per cent hike in driving time in the morning rush hour).
“The figures do bring home the potential time that could be saved if you travel outside of peak times,” pointed out Admiral’s Motor Product Manager Jo Cox. “If at all possible, consider starting your journey and working day earlier or later. It could mean your time is spent a lot more productively.”
Traffic dilemmas at different times of the year
Sometimes, the time of the year will also affect how much traffic is on the road. Around the 2017 festive break, for instance, following a survey of its drivers the RAC predicted that 1.25 million leisure trips would have been completed on Friday December 22nd 2017, 1.59 million on Saturday December 23rd, 1.87 million on Christmas Eve and a huge 5.3 million on Boxing Day.
The RAC was also on hand to warn drivers to expect delays if they had to complete a journey in the first couple of weeks of the 2017 school holidays. After an analysis of the travel plans of 3,176 motorists, the organisation predicted that they would have been 37 million leisure trips completed in the initial two weeks of the school holidays. This included 2.5 million journeys being made on the Friday that schools closed for the summer, 3.4 million on the Saturday and 2.8 million on the Sunday.
With these facts and stats in mind, you may be able to reduce how stressed you become when driving and see your time stuck in traffic tumble dramatically too.