Travelling at Christmas - Know Before You Go

Photo by Josh Hild from Pexels

With Christmas week fast approaching, and the vaccine now being rolled out across the UK, we all will be planning a drive to visit some loved ones around the country. It is important to plan ahead and know what days are best to travel! You don’t want to get caught in traffic or bad weather, so it is important to always plan ahead.

Best times to travel:

The best time to travel is always away from peak times, and during the holiday season, that is at peak rush-hour on the Monday 21st, Tuesday 22nd, and Monday 28th. These will be the most likely days to suffer the worst traffic numbers this Christmas. If you need to travel before Christmas day, Wednesday 23rd as late as you can or Christmas eve as early as you can (before 9am) would be safe bets for avoiding the rush.

Travelling between Christmas and New Year can be even harder to predict, but again, you can assume that everyone wants to home before New Years Eve. People will still be working too, meaning it can be easier for you to plan around peak traffic times, aka after morning rush or before 5pm rush. Traffic will probably be at its worst on Wednesday 30th, but we would suggest not travelling if you can avoid it during peak times for that week. Aim to go between 10am and 3pm if you can.

Long distance journeys:

If you are travelling a fair distance this festive period, it is important to always check the weather! Last Christmas, I was driving north to Inverness and I got stuck at the snow gates at the Drumochter Pass near Dalwhinnie and had to turn round after waiting for about an hour! Don’t make the same mistake as me! Always make sure you bring a warm blanket, food, water/tea (flask is great) and a breakdown kit. Its snow joke… Sorry.


A couple of vital checks you should really do before a long journey:

·         Check tyres for bumps, scratches, and gashes.

·         Top-up washer fluid

·         Check engine coolant, top-up with anti-freeze if it’s very cold

·         Check battery is still reliable

The main cause of traffic at this time of year is usually last-minute Christmas shopping, with people running around trying to get everything ready for the big day! It is important to stay safe on the roads, as stress can run high this time of year, especially with the current national pandemic. Remember that driving safely is the most important thing during the winter months!

What routes to use:

The busiest routes are always the main motorways and dual carriageways. The A9 north and south is very busy this time of year and is listed as the most dangerous road in Scotland. With the northbound carriageway being single lane from Perth to Inverness, it is very important to remain patient and not try to beat all the traffic. Also, heavy roadworks are still continuing to turn it into a duel carriageway, so you will be stuck at 40mph for large portions of it. The section currently being worked on is between Perth and Dunkeld. Find out more about these works on the Government website:

Around the big cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh, congestion will be at its worst, with most of the country travelling out of the cities for the holidays. Roads such as the M80 and M9 will be packed come next week, so make sure to plan ahead!

Thankfully, we live in a time with a fabulous amount of technology to assist us. So, if you hear about traffic further up the road, whip out your smartphone (once you find a safe place to stop!) or sat nav and find another route, you don’t need to add to the congestion!

Remember to stay safe this Christmas, we all want to get home for some well deserved family-time! 

Posted 15/12/2020 Back to Blog

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