More ‘Lonely this Christmas’ than ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ on roads this festive season, says AA president

It’ll be lonely this Christmas on the roads of the UK, the president of the AA has predicted.

Edmund King said the traffic jams that usually build up across Britain before and after 25 December will be notable in their absence.

Professor King said: “Generally, it looks like [it will be] more ‘Silent Night’ or ‘Lonely this Christmas’ than ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ on the roads this festive season.

“Christmas Day is likely to busier on the roads than a normal Christmas Day but should still be relatively quiet.

“Most people have sensibly decided to swap long-distance journeys for a quiet Christmas at home, to reduce risk of spreading the virus and avoid choosing between family members.

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“Some are determined to be reunited with their loved ones and now only have one day to do so without breaking the rules.

“As there will be more day trips we are reminding drivers not to be tempted to drink and drive and to ensure they are not over the limit if they drive the morning after.”

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Last Christmas, the key traffic problems were on 23, 26 and 27 December.

Severe hold-ups continue in Kent due to the temporary closure of the French border and subsequent insistence on Covid tests.

Highways England said: “We urge hauliers not to travel to Kent until further notice as work continues to alleviate congestion at the ports.

“Other road users are advised to expect disruption and to allow extra journey time.”

The only Christmas getaway crush happened on Saturday evening, 19 December, after the heavy restrictions of Tier 4 were  announced for large parts of south east England, and the five-day “Christmas easing” was retracted. 

Thousands of travellers converged on London’s main railway stations to try to reach their destinations before the midnight deadline.

The crowds expected on trains on 23 and 24 December did not materialise because hundreds of thousands of rail travellers cancelled journeys to and from London. But flooding is affecting some lines in Wales and West of England.

In a poll conducted by the AA after the Tier 4 announcement, more than half of motorists (54 per cent) said they were planning to stay at home regardless of the changes.

But 15 per cent of drivers said they would travel regardless of the tighter restrictions. One in 11 (9 per cent) was undecided about whether driving home for Christmas was a good plan.

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