Crowdsourced sat nav app Waze has predicted Saturday 24 December 2016 will be the busiest day on the roads of 2016, with as many as 12 million drivers heading to airports, restaurants, doing last minute shopping and travelling to places of worship.
The “Waze Christmas Eve Trend Report” examines some of the top last-minute errands and activities from Christmas Eve 2015 and found that on the day:
Shopping traffic increased by 27% between 0900 – 1500
Grocery traffic increased by 29% between 1100 – 1700
Restaurant traffic increased by 22% between 1100- 1500
Airport traffic increase by 20% between 11.00 - 1500
Place of worship traffic increased 43%.
Complicating things futher, certain rail routes will be closed over this year's Christmas period as Network Rail takes on 200 upgrade and repair projects costing £103 million. Highways England, which manages England's motorways and major A roads, said it will complete or lift 448 miles of roadworks by 6am on December 23 in a bid to ease the Christmas getaway.
Additionally, the Met Office believes strong gales could trigger Storm Barbara with the poor weather wreaking havoc on Christmas Eve. The unsettled weather is expected to hit travel networks including rail, road and air services. A Christmas Day storm is forecast to be the biggest to hit the UK for more than a year, as it threatens to top winds from Storm Angus in November.
Despite drivers' prediciment over the festive season, Waze can guide you to the fastest route to get from A to B. For a limitted time, you can also download the voice of comedian Sue Perkins (a former co-host on BBC's The Great British Bake Off) to navigate you with double entendres and baking puns aplenty.
Finlay Clark, of Waze UK, says: “Traditionally, it has been hard for people to pinpoint exactly when they should avoid the roads. Yet, no one know knows more about what is happening in real-time than Waze users. Even if you think you know the way, the app provides peace of mind by suggesting the fastest and most optimal route possible to any destination at any time. This can be a particularly useful aid to help you plan ahead on Christmas Eve and during the busy festive period, so that you don't lose any extra time that you could be spending with the family."
Join this community of drivers today by downloading the free Waze app for iOs or Android at www.waze.com/get. Then to select the Sue Perkins voice option within Waze, go to Settings > Sound > Voice language > Sue Perkins. Downloads are free.