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WATCH: The Christmas traffic jam hotspots are revealed

WATCH: The Christmas traffic jam hotspots are revealed

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 11:42am 17th December 2018. (Updated at 11:46am 17th December 2018)

The traffic jam hotspots are revealed... as Cornwall drives home for Christmas.

Officials say around 20 million car journeys will take place across the country this week.

In the south west the M5 will see major congestion - and it could affect your journey if you're travelling to or from the Duchy.

Scroll down to find the worst days and times to travel.

The anticipated jams will be compounded by extensive disruption to the rail network, with planned engineering work and strikes forcing more people on to the roads.

Strikes are likely to affect routes run by Northern Rail and South Western Railway, while Network Rail is planning engineering work on lines running into major stations such as London Paddington and London Victoria.

Research by the RAC and traffic information firm Inrix suggests road traffic will be staggered over the coming days, reaching a peak towards the weekend.

Thursday and Friday are expected to be the worst days for congestion, with 2.5 million and 2.8 million vehicles respectively making leisure trips while battling for road space with regular commuters.

On Thursday, delays of up to three hours are expected on one section of the northbound M6, while on Friday part of the southbound M40 could see drivers queuing for over 90 minutes.

Drivers are being advised to use alternative routes or wait until 8pm before setting off to avoid the worst queues.

"The run-up to Christmas is traditionally a very busy time on the roads and for us as Patrols, and 2018 looks to be no exception - although our data suggests drivers are planning on getting away early in some cases and spreading their journeys across a number of days, which would certainly be no bad thing.
 
"It’s vitally important every driver planning a trip gives their car a once over to make sure it’s up to the job, as a single breakdown can bring some roads to a grinding halt, slowing down the Christmas getaway for all of us.
"A few moments spent checking things like fuel, oil, coolant and screenwash levels and the condition and pressure of tyres could make the difference between a stress-free journey and one plagued by a breakdown.

"It might feel like yet another thing to think about before Christmas but it’s a fact that many of the breakdowns we see are avoidable if drivers just do these few checks before they set out."

RAC Patrol of the Year Mark Souster

Meantime, Highways England will lift more than 200 miles of roadworks on the country's motorways and major A-roads by 6am on Friday to ensure more than 97% of the network is open for the getaway.

That includes the roadworks on the A38 at the Saltash Tunnel.

"We know that the Christmas period is one of the busiest times on our roads and we'd also like to remind people about the importance of checking their vehicle before setting off on their journeys.

"Simple things like checking your fuel and oil levels, tyre pressures and that all lights are working properly, can keep you moving and the network flowing."

Melanie Clarke, Highways England

Where will the worst queues be during the getaway?

Wednesday 19 December (2.8 million leisure trips)
Worst time to travel: 3pm to 6.30pm
Best time to travel: After 7.30pm
Worst road for delays: M25 clockwise from J20 to J28 from 3.30pm. Up to 80-minute delay

Thursday 20 December (2.5 million trips)
Worst time to travel: 11.30am to 6.30pm
Best time to travel: After 8pm
Worst road for delays: M6 north J15 to J25 from 12.30pm. Up to 181-minute delay

Friday 21 December (2.8 million trips)
Worst time to travel: 11.30am to 6.30pm
Best time to travel: After 7.30pm
Worst road for delays: M40 south from M42 (Warwickshire) to J8A (Oxford). Up to 110-minute delay

Saturday 22 December (2.2 million trips)
Worst time to travel: 10.30am to 4pm
Best time to travel: Before 9.30am or after 7.30pm
Worst road for delays: M40 north from J8A (Oxford) to M42 (Warwickshire). Up to 61-minute delay.

Sunday 23 December (1.9 million trips)
Worst time to travel: 4pm to 6.30pm
Best time to travel: Before 11am or after 8pm
Worst road for delays: N/A

Monday 24 December (2.5 million trips)
Worst time to travel: 11am to 1pm
Best time to travel: At other times
Worst road for delays: M1 north J21 (Coventry/Leicester) to J26 (Nottingham/Ripley). Up to 22-minute delay.

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