17 Dec 2019

The Winns Guide to Driving at Christmas

Most of us have somewhere we need to be over Christmas, and that means hitting the roads at one of the busiest times of the year. Whether you're driving home for Christmas, heading out to see friends, or even making a last-minute dash to buy those last few special presents, it can help to know when to expect extra traffic and a higher risk of accidents.

When are the worst times to travel this Christmas?

A forecast by the AA suggests that Thursday 19th and Friday 20th will actually see the busiest traffic, with commuter and festive traffic combining to put 17 million cars on the nation's routes.

Traditionally, Christmas Eve is also one of the worst times to take the car, with 15.4 million travellers projected this year. The surge in motorists is partly due to those who are staying with loved ones on the big day, and also the fact that a lot of people will be working as usual throughout at least part of the 24th. Revellers heading to the city centres also add to the sheer volume on the roads.

In Ireland last year, a huge 72% of motorists made 'significant journeys' on Christmas Eve, so we'd recommend that you set off on your journey as early as possible. Or you could wrap up warm and stay in front of the fire at home instead.

When are the best times to travel this Christmas?

To best minimise stress and the risk of an accident, you should always try and travel outside peak times during the festive season.

According to the AA, the best day to drive before Christmas this year will be Sunday 22nd, with just 12.7 million vehicles travelling throughout the day. If you can wait, however, driving on Christmas day itself will be a lot less fraught, thanks to a decreased amount of just 11 million motorists.

How Can I make the journey better?

Preparation is the key to making your journey as smooth as possible and ensuring that you aren't derailed by any surprises.

Be sure to take plenty of food and water with you, especially on longer journeys, as hungry, thirsty, and frustrated passengers can easily fall out with each other. It's also worth having these supplies on shorter journeys in case you break down.

You should also keep essentials in your car for this kind of eventuality:

  • A torch, preferably a wind-up model
  • A thick coat
  • A sturdy pair of boots
  • A hi-vis vest
  • A first aid kit
  • A shovel, if snow is forecast

“We want people to keep up the holiday spirit when they are driving home for Christmas,” said Ben Sheridan, AA patrol of the Year. “Besides having your favourite festive playlist ready to go, the best way to ensure a trouble-free journey is to plan ahead.

“Check the traffic reports before you leave and try to travel when it’s quieter if you can, or consider taking a different route to beat the jams.”

Wherever you're going this festive period, Winns wishes you safe travels and a wonderful Christmas.

Share this article

Back to News