A total of 3.4 million car journeys are expected across the country today as six-week summer school holidays begin, according to the RAC.
Nearly 9m will travel this weekend as the ‘traditional Great British summer holiday getaway’ starts, a spokesman said.
But the peak of the weekend’s travel will be today (Saturday, July 22), with an estimated 3.4m vehicles on the roads, according to the spokesman.
Anticipated traffic hotspots in Sussex are the M25 between Gatwick and the M1, as well as the A23/M23 to Brighton.
RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: “This weekend will bring unwelcome customary chaos to Britain’s major roads as people flock to take advantage of the first week or two of the summer holidays on home soil.
“While not as busy as Easter which is typically the pinnacle of leisure traffic due to it being the first break for several months, the Great British summer holiday getaway begins with an initial rush for the roads this weekend as that’s when the majority of schools break up.
“But, unlike any other time of year, the country’s major tourist routes will remain steadily busy through the rest of the six weeks, never more so than at the weekend with traffic toing and froing from major holiday locations.
“Sadly, for many the very much-needed family summer holiday might begin stressfully as long tailbacks are inevitable.
“The best advice is always to try to travel when the vast majority of motorists aren’t – very early in the morning or late in the evening, but for many, of course, this is just not possible, nor practical.
“So if you are one vehicle in the 3.4m making a leisure journey on Saturday a healthy dose of patience is going to be required, and keeping everyone in the car happy will be key to that.
“There’s nothing worse than suffering an unexpected breakdown en route to your holiday destination so carrying out some basic vehicle checks before setting out might just help avoid a bad start to that well-earned summer break.”
The RAC has also put together a guide to how to avoid breakdowns experienced in warmer weather to help drivers.
The most commonly experienced causes of breakdowns, according to the RAC, are problems with the battery, tyres, clutch, alternator and punctures.