Highways England will be working around the clock to remove roadworks in time for the big getaway, meaning around 98 per cent of motorways and major A roads will be roadworks-free in time for Christmas.
The vast majority of roadworks will be removed from the motorway and major A-road network from 6am Friday 20 December until 12.01am on Thursday 2 January.
To avoid busy travel times, Highways England is urging drivers to check traffic conditions before they set out and to make sure their vehicle is ready for the journey ahead.
Research shows almost half of all breakdowns are caused by simple mechanical problems which could be avoided with simple checks and nearly a quarter are caused by tyre problems.
Highways England’s customer service director Melanie Clarke said:
We don’t want roadworks to spoil Christmas so we’re doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible; that’s why we’re keeping around 98 per cent of the road network we manage free from roadworks.
And we’re asking drivers to be prepared too. We know from experience that almost half of breakdowns can easily be avoided if motorists carry out simple vehicle checks before their journeys.
So, before you set off, check traffic conditions, check your vehicle, and make sure you’re aware of the signs and signals on motorways.
Before they set off, Highways England is urging motorists to:
- Check fuel: Make sure you have enough to get to your destination
- Check tyres: Check your tyre pressure and the condition of your tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure the tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, which is the legal limit
- Check engine oil: Use your dipstick to check oil before any long journey, and top up if needed – take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual
- Check water: To ensure you have good visibility, always keep your screen wash topped up so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen
- Check your lights: If your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself at risk. In addition, light malfunctions can be a reason for your vehicle to fail its MOT
Highways England has advice about traffic conditions on its website, Twitter feeds, and information line (0300 123 5000).
If you’re towing, Highways England is also reminding you to ensure that you have the correct licence and insurance to tow whatever the weight, make sure you have connected correctly, and always ensure your load is secure and within the limits for your vehicle before setting off.
A series of vehicle checks videos are available to help people carry out basic vehicle checks before they set off on their travels.
Highways England is also urging drivers to stay safe by adhering to motorway signage, including the red X signals.
Highways England closes lanes for a reason and drivers ignoring red X signs put themselves and others at risk.
Drivers planning to use the Dartford Crossing are reminded to pay Dart Charge in advance or by midnight the day after crossing.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.