This summer will see unprecedented levels of traffic on UK roads due to drivers planning in excess of 29 million staycations – 16 million of these in the school holidays alone – according to a new study of 2,500 drivers conducted by RAC Breakdown.

The number of drivers making firm staycation bookings has surged 20 percent since April, with the West Country – Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset – expected to receive the largest numbers of holidaymakers (30 percent).

To help prevent a breakdown on busy roads, the RAC is urging drivers to make sure their cars – and anything they might be towing – are “road ready”.

“Our research shows that while most people have already made their plans, if – as expected – travel restrictions limit the numbers taking foreign holidays, then those booking last-minute trips in the UK will likely soar, adding to what we expect to already be an extremely busy summer on the roads,” said RAC Breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis. “This summer, perhaps more than ever, the last thing anyone wants while they’re away on a well-earned break is a breakdown. Busier roads, especially in the heat, can mean a sudden sharp increase in breakdowns, so we’re calling on every driver to check their car is ‘road ready’ and isn’t about to let them down.”

RAC research suggests that longer trips will be much more popular this year, with a third of those drivers who had a holiday in the UK last year planning on covering a greater distance in 2021.

Be #RoadReady – tips that can help avoid breakdowns from Ben Aldous, RAC’s patrol of the year

  • Fuel (petrol/diesel car) or charge (electric car) – it sounds obvious, but make sure you have more than enough for the trip you’re making, to take account of jams. If you’re creeping along in slow moving traffic, you’re still using fuel or battery charge.
  • Oil – it’s vital the oil level is checked to avoid a breakdown and potentially expensive engine damage. RAC video: How and why to check and top up engine oil
  • Rubber – all tyres must be inflated correctly based on the load being carried, check the owners’ manual for details. Each tyre should also have plenty of tread and, of course, be free of any damage. RAC video: How to check tyres have enough tread
  • Coolant – an engine running for longer has a much greater chance of overheating if the coolant is low or leaking. Check the level plenty of days before you are due to go away (make sure the engine is completely cold), and get a garage to assist if needed. RAC video: How and why to check coolant level
  • Electrics ­– you’ll need your lights on during sudden downpours, and your wipers must be able to clear the windscreen properly (wipers that don’t clear effectively are also enough to fail an MOT). RAC video: How to change your wipers
  • Screenwash – keep a clear view of the road ahead (and behind) by ensuring the screenwash bottle is topped up. RAC video: How to check and top up screenwash

Find out more about how to avoid a summer breakdown.

Originally published on the RAC Media Centre.