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Waze predicts gridlocked roads in UK to holiday hotspots as COVID restrictions end

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Poll of 2,000 motorists finds that most are planning to stay in the UK for summer holidays. Waze warns that this year’s ‘Frantic Friday’ will be busier than ever, with COVID restrictions ending, schools breaking for summer and staycation bookings increasing by 50% vs. pre-pandemic.

Brits nationwide are getting ready for their much-needed summer break, but with COVID-19 restrictions lifting and domestic getaway bookings at an all-time high, the ‘Summer of Staycations’ is set to cause chaos on the roads. New research from crowdsourced sat-nav app Waze looks at what this means for drivers as they hit the roads this summer, and how ‘carmageddon’ can be avoided. 

Despite a surge in foreign travel bookings following relaxed COVID restrictions on July 19, uncertainty on travel to date has led to two thirds of Britons polled booking a staycation this year. This is a staggering 52% increase on the number of staycations planned on a ‘typical’ year (27%). 

The sudden spike is bad news for drivers - over half (53%) of whom state traffic is their biggest gripe when headed on a domestic holiday. It’s especially worrisome for those headed to the Lake District, Cornwall and Devon, which respondents indicate are the most popular destinations this year (21%, 21%, 19% respectively). 

As a result, routes like the M6, A30, A38, M5 and A303 are likely to be hotbeds for traffic throughout the summer season. Meanwhile, thoroughfares to major UK airports like Heathrow, Bristol and Manchester are expected to become congested by those risking international travel, following bookings to amber destinations increasing by up to 400% since the previous policy change. 

Ru Roberts, Waze UK Country Manager, said: “Our data shows a huge eagerness to get back on British roads this summer, and there are already more cars than ever being driven following the initial relaxing of restrictions in April."

Without proper planning, the UK motorway network will become gridlocked - which is not only a bad start to a staycation, but a substantial trigger for the 43% of respondents who become frustrated with just 30 minutes of traffic. Where possible, avoid travelling during peak hours, plan your journey ahead of time and consider a route which may be longer in miles but fewer in cars.”

To raise awareness of anticipated traffic hotspots and educate drivers on ways to optimise their travel, Waze has partnered with Twisted’s top chefs to launch its own line of strawberry ‘Traffic Jam’. The spread has been made from roadside berries that grow along Britain’s ‘jammiest’ roads, including the A303, M1 and M4. 

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