A QUARTER of Brits will give visiting family and friends over Christmas a swerve amid fears of gridlock on the roads, a new independent national survey of drivers has revealed.
National UK statistics obtained by leading car leasing company Select Car Leasing show a surprising 25% of UK motorists will avoid loved ones over the festive season, due to the notoriously hectic Christmas roads.
Each year, millions of extra journeys are made by motorists during the Christmas season, often leading to British roads being choked with traffic during peak travel hours.
Select Car Leasing company director James O’Malley said: “Christmas is traditionally an opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones.
“It also means many of Britain’s roads come to a standstill as lots of us do the rounds visiting people and exchanging gifts.
“Nobody likes being stuck in traffic jams for hours on end, but it’s a surprise to see a quarter of drivers will snub family and friends and stay at home instead.
“To avoid being caught in endless traffic, motorists should plan ahead, consider travelling during off-peak hours and stay away from routes most likely to be busy.”
Last year, traffic tracker firm INRIX estimated an incredible 20 million journeys would be made in just the Christmas week.
Boxing Day, on December 26, is traditionally the busiest day over Christmas, with an estimated 6.9million journeys made on that day alone last year.
While the Friday before Christmas Day, this year falling on the 20th of December, is often labelled ‘Frantic Friday’ due to the huge number of people travelling home after finishing work for their holiday.
Select Car Leasing conducted an independent national study of 1,000 drivers who were asked how much they agreed with the statement: “I’ll actively try to avoid visiting relatives and friends over Christmas due to the Christmas traffic.”
A quarter of motorists (25%) said they would actively avoid visiting relatives and friends, suggesting the Christmas cheer isn’t quite taking hold among drivers this year.
Silver Spooned Scrooges
The new research also highlights motorists from upper-class backgrounds are more likely to avoid visiting loved ones this Christmas than those less well-off.
Over one third (34%) of UK drivers from the top socio-economic classification, including high-earning professionals and managers, said they’ll avoid doing the visiting rounds.
However, younger drivers aged 18-24 are less bothered about Christmas traffic, with just 15% claiming they will avoid taking to the roads to visit friends and family over Christmas.
Christmas Car Chaos
The survey also revealed how almost half (44%) of motorists believe driving behaviour is worse over Christmas than it is during the rest of the year.
The frustration is highest among young drivers aged 18-24, with over half (52%) admitting they believe other drivers let their standards slip over the festive period.
Select Car Leasing company director James O’Malley added: “The data shows that drivers are staying away from roads over Christmas, not only because of the hectic roads but because they lack faith in the ability of other drivers at this time of year.
“While it's easy to understand the rush to get back home over Christmas, the jammed roads over this time means it’s extra important to stay safe, be patient and more aware of other drivers.”
Established in 2004, Select Car Leasing is one of the UK's largest independent specialists for car leasing as well as commercial and van leasing.
Data Source: Independent primary research study conducted by One Poll of 1,000 UK drivers for Select Car Leasing
Survey Question: I'll actively try to avoid visiting relatives and friends over Christmas because of the Christmas traffic 5pt attitudinal agree/disagree scale
Table 1: All Respondents Data, Gender Split (sum strongly/somewhat agree and strongly/somewhat disagree)
Table 2: Age Splits
Table 3: Region Split