The October half term is set to see an ‘autumn rush’ on the roads, research by RAC Breakdown has revealed.

A survey of 1,400 drivers revealed there will be an estimated 19.4 million separate ‘leisure trips’ carried out between Friday and Sunday, with 5.6m predicted to take place on Saturday alone. In contrast, Friday and Sunday are set to have 4.3m and 4.6m respectively, with another 4.9m trips anticipated to take place over the three day period.

The findings suggest Covid is not stopping drivers from planning a trip in the way it did earlier in the year. For instance, only six per cent of the respondents identified the pandemic as the reason they will not be going away over half term, a decrease from the figure of 10% over the August bank holiday weekend. Previously, 18% had said the same prior to the May Day bank holiday.

Additional research revealed that of those who are planning October trips, 72% do not intend to go further than 200 miles from home. However, 22% are set to go further afield than they typically would this time of the year.

The most popular spots to visit are Devon and Yorkshire (eight per cent each), closely followed by Norfolk or Suffolk (seven per cent each), Dorset, Blackpool and the Lancashire coast (six per cent) and Cornwall (five per cent).

There’s still some indecision over the final destination for some drivers, with nine per cent yet to make their minds up. If you find yourself in need of a helping hand to choose where to go, check our travel section – it’s full of brilliant ideas and inspiration for potential holiday destinations.

RAC Breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “Summer might be long gone but these figures suggest there might still be something of an ‘autumn rush’ on the roads in the coming days as millions of drivers look to get away for the half term holidays. That could well spark a jump in the number of breakdowns and, while many of these can’t be foreseen, a good number could be avoided if drivers spent just a little time looking over their cars before setting out.”

“The key to a smooth journey is checking oil, coolant and screenwash levels are all where they should be, and making sure tyres are in good condition, have plenty of tread and are properly inflated. Not checking these things increases the risk of a breakdown significantly, which is the last thing drivers want as they head away for a well-earned rest.”

“Our research also shows that despite a rise in Covid cases nationally, it’s clear the pandemic is becoming much less of a factor in whether people decide whether or not to get away for a leisure trip. Just six-in-100 drivers say they’re not travelling specifically because of the virus, compared to 10% before the August bank holiday and 18% at the start of May.”

“It might also be the case that the rise in UK ‘staycations’ brought about by Covid has encouraged some drivers to venture further afield than they would normally at this time of year.”

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