-  17 million(1) drivers take to the roads this May Day bank holiday -

- Road rage tensions heightened as Saturday predicted to be the busiest day of the bank holiday weekend –


  • More than two fifths (42%) of UK drivers will travel by car this May Day bank holiday weekend, expected to cover 80 miles on average.
  • More than one in 10 (11%) of motorists have experienced road rage due to bank holiday traffic, as interactive test highlights how stress and heightened emotions can affect driving ability.
  • More than one in eight (13%) drivers have had an accident or near miss on a bank holiday weekend.


A surge in traffic is expected this May Day bank holiday as approximately 17 million(1) drivers are expected to hit the roads over the three-day weekend.


And it seems that Saturday will be the busiest day, according to new research by Confused.com, the driver savings site, with more than two thirds (69%) of bank holiday drivers planning a trip for this day. But for those wanting to avoid traffic, Monday might be the best time to travel, as fewer (52%) motorists are planning to hit the road on this day. In total, more than two fifths (42%) of UK drivers plan on travelling by car over the bank holiday and are expect to cover 80 miles on average over the three days.


With traffic levels heightened, motorists are at risk of congestion and tougher driving conditions, which might get their blood boiling. In fact, the research by the driver savings site found that more than one in 10 (11%) drivers experienced road rage over a previous bank holiday.


But getting caught up in road rage can have serious consequences without drivers realising it, and it can reduce concentration levels. To help motorists understand the impact their emotions can have on their driving ability, Confused.com has created an interactive test. This gives drivers advice on dealing with their emotions, be it stress, anxiety, exhaustion or even excitement. For those struggling with driving stress, Confused.com has launched a guide on the top tips for keeping their cool when hitting the road.


Driving with high levels of anxiety is just one of many factors that can lead to accidents. Undoubtedly any advice on how to reduce this likelihood will be welcomed by motorists, as more than one in eight (13%) have experienced an accident or near-miss over a bank holiday weekend. A further one in five (20%) drivers have witnessed an accident or near miss during bad traffic on a bank holiday weekend, which could add to the concern some may feel about driving during this period. And London appears to be the most hazardous place for drivers during busy periods, as one in five (20%) drivers in the region have personally had an accident or near miss due to bad bank-holiday traffic – the highest figure across the UK. Although, this isn’t surprising given motorists in the region appear to get the most irate about traffic – with more than one in seven (15%) motorists in the region saying they’ve had road rage on a bank holiday weekend.


With bad traffic having such an impact on a driver’s experience, it’s no surprise that two in five (40%) UK drivers admit that previous levels of bank holiday traffic put them off driving over future long-weekends. In fact, almost a third (30%) of drivers are so put off by the traffic that they are saving themselves the hassle and aren’t planning to drive at all, with more than a fifth (21%) blaming the bad traffic for their decision.


But despite so many drivers claiming to be put off by bank holiday traffic, many are still braving the conditions and heading out. Most (50%) will be taking the time to visit family, while more than a fifth (21%) will be taking the time to visit the seaside. And it seems some regions expect to see a higher volume of traffic than others. In particular, roads in London and the West Midlands are expected to be the busiest, as almost half (47%) of the regions’ drivers plan to get behind the wheel over the course of the long weekend. And while they may see a higher percentage of cars on the road, it’s drivers in the East of England who are predicted to cover the most ground – with an average of 92 miles to be driven by motorists within this region.


Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “With a flood of traffic expected over the bank holiday weekend its likely drivers will find themselves getting agitated by the sheer number of cars on the road. Avoiding driving while stressed is crucial as heightened emotions can lead to accidents, as highlighted by our interactive test.

“We urge motorists to avoid stressful traffic this bank holiday by planning their route in advance, or driving earlier in the morning or later at night to avoid peak periods. And if they’ve found themselves getting a bit hot-headed out on the road, then our guide to keeping cool while behind the wheel might be helpful in avoiding these stressful situations.”


Notes to editors

Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll on behalf of Confused.com. This was an online poll of 2,000 UK adults who drive (nationally representative sample). The research was conducted between 24th April and 30th April 2018.


  1. https://data.gov.uk/dataset/driving-licence-data, as of March ’18 there are 40,331,643 full driving licence holders in the UK. 42.4% of survey respondents (UK drivers) WILL be driving over the bank holiday. 42.4% of 40,331,643 = 17,100,617