The best times to avoid road traffic

With more than 245,000 miles of road in the whole of Great Britain, getting from A to B can sometimes be a time-consuming challenge.

Slow driving is one of the biggest frustrations shared by British motorists across the country, especially when stuck in a traffic jam during peak times.

According to research carried out by cinch, the faff-free way to buy a car online, motorists in the capital spend 156 hours in traffic each year, with Thursdays between 5pm and 6pm being the most congested time of the week.

What’s the situation like in your hometown?

Sam Sheehan, motoring editor at cinch, reveals the ins and outs of cruising around 25 of the UK’s busiest towns and cities, including the best time to travel, average hours lost in congestion, and yearly petrol cost per location.

Best times to travel by road

If you’re an early bird, you’ll be glad to know the quietest time of the day for road users is when the sun is coming up.

So, if you’re off on a road trip in your eye-catching Audi [HF1] or bold BMW car, you may want to set off between 4am and 6am to avoid lengthy queues and tooting horns.

Results show that across the UK, Mondays and Wednesdays are generally the calmest days of the week for road users driving in the early hours of the morning.

But which British cities allow for the swiftest journeys?

“Based on our findings, the best place to get from A to B quickly is Preston,” Sheehan said.

“The quietest time to take to the road in the Lancashire city is on Wednesdays at 4am when motorists can expect to travel 10km (6.2 miles) in just under seven minutes, sticking to legal speed limits.

Best time of the week to travel 10km (6.2 miles) by road – quickest five locations:

Preston – Wednesday at 4am (10km in 6 minutes, 48 seconds)

Stoke-on-Trent – Wednesday at 4am (7 mins, 39 secs)

Reading – Wednesday at 3am (7 mins, 53 secs)

Coventry – Wednesday at 4am (8 mins, 3 secs)

Middlesbrough – Monday at 5am (8 mins, 13 secs)

Worst times to travel by road

When it comes to the worst times to travel in towns and cities across the country, morning and evening rush hours are the periods you’d be wise to avoid.

Hours lost in congestion

London is the UK city where you’re most likely to sit in traffic jams, with the average motorist losing around 156 hours in congestion per year.

During rush hour, drivers can expect to travel at a tortoise-like average 9mph.

Yearly hours lost in congestion per driver – five worst locations in the UK:

London – 156 hours (average speed in rush hour: 9mph)

Bristol – 91 hours (average speed in rush hour: 15mph)

Manchester – 84 hours (average speed in rush hour: 14mph)

Birmingham – 73 hours (average speed in rush hour: 19mph)

Belfast – 72 hours (average speed in rush hour: 19mph)

If congestion-free driving is high on your priority list, you’ll find solace driving around Middlesbrough.

The Teesside town has the lowest score regarding hours lost in traffic, with an average of 24 hours per driver each year.

Yearly hours lost in congestion per driver – five best locations in the UK:

Middlesbrough – 24 hours (average speed in rush hour: 30mph)

Swansea – 29 hours (average speed in rush hour: 21mph)

Glasgow – 31 hours (average speed in rush hour: 19mph)

Portsmouth – 34 hours (average speed in rush hour: 30mph)

Newcastle – 40 hours (average speed in rush hour: 19mph)

Petrol expenses

There’s no hiding that petrol prices are going up. And, while it’s not an exact science, the longer you spend in traffic the more fuel you will consume.

Each year, London drivers splash out an average £805 to juice up their vehicles, and a whopping £200 of that is lost to congestion alone.

Petrol cost per year per driver – five most expensive locations in the UK:

London – £805 per driver (£200 lost to congestion)

Bristol – £687 (£169 lost to congestion)

Manchester – £651 (£144 lost to congestion)

Brighton – £640 (£114 lost to congestion)

Sheffield – £636 (£121 lost to congestion)

Petrol cost per year per driver – five most affordable locations in the UK:

Middlesbrough – £512 per driver (£54 lost to congestion)

Portsmouth – £526 (£82 lost to congestion)

Stoke-on-Trent – £533 (£96 lost to congestion)

Coventry – £542 (£67 lost to congestion)

Newcastle – £547 (£66 lost to congestion)




Picture: Michael Zacharzewski/RGBstock

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