Driving home for Christmas! National Highways lifting roadworks for festive getaway  


13 December 2023

Press Release

Driving home for Christmas! National Highways lifting roadworks for festive getaway  

More than 98 per cent of motorways and major A-roads will be roadworks-free in time for those travelling to see loved ones or making other journeys for Christmas.      

National Highways is working round the clock to give motorists an early Christmas present by removing more than 1,000 miles of roadworks ahead of the festive getaway.  

This means more than 98 per cent of motorways and major A-roads will be roadworks-free in time for those travelling to see loved ones or making other journeys for Christmas.  

To help keep festive disruption to a minimum, the vast majority of roadworks will be removed from 6am on Tuesday 19 December until 12.01am on Tuesday 2 January.  

Notable routes to benefit from roadworks being lifted for the festive period includes:
• The A3 in Hindhead with more than nine miles of roadworks completed ahead of the festive getaway
• The M27 between junctions 2 and 3 (near Southampton) with more than 13 miles of roadworks completed before Christmas
• The M4 between junctions 13 and 12 (near Newbury) with more than 27 miles of roadworks removed for drivers
• The A1 from A47 Wansford to Stibbington (near Peterborough) with five miles of roadworks lifted
• And five miles of roadworks will be lifted on the M1 between junctions 21 to 22 (near Leicester) to help motorists enjoy hassle-free journeys.

National Highways Customer Service Director Andrew Butterfield said: “December is an incredibly busy period which is why we’re improving journeys for motorists by keeping 98 per cent of the roads we manage free from roadworks over Christmas.

“We know from experience that peak travel times can vary at this time of year, so it’s really important that drivers check traffic conditions before heading out to help keep traffic flowing.”

Minister for Roads Guy Opperman said: “We’re on the side of drivers, which is why National Highways is lifting hundreds of miles of roadworks to make sure everyone’s festive getaway is as smooth as possible, improving journey times and helping people get from A to B easier.”

Andrew Butterfield added: “It’s also good practice to make sure your vehicle is prepared for the journey ahead. Ensure you have plenty of fuel, the tyres are in good condition, and you have suitable clothing and snacks in the car in case you run into difficulties.”

National Highways is encouraging drivers to check its handy T.R.I.P guidance.   

Before setting off, motorists are encouraged to:  
• Top-up: Fuel, oil and screenwash highlights some of the basic vehicle checks you can carry out at home. It’s really important to check your fuel level, water level and oil level before embarking on a long trip.
• Rest: take regular comfort breaks encourages people to be well rested ahead of their journey and not under the influence of alcohol, and to plan the journey, identifying places to stop for a break during your journey.
• Inspect: check tyre pressure and tread focusses on some simple things you can do at home to care for your tyres.
• Prepare: have a plan for all weathers encourages drivers and their passengers to take seasonal kits with them on their journey so they have provisions in the event of hold ups and traffic jams and check the weather forecast.

National Highways is also reminding people what to do if they have problems with their vehicle during their journey – and the key message is Go Left. The advice to anyone encountering vehicle trouble is to stay calm and try to exit at the next junction or motorway service area. If that’s not possible:  

• Go left - put your left indicator on and move into an emergency area, onto a hard shoulder, left-hand verge or A-road lay-by. Switch your hazard warning lights on, even during the day. If it’s dark, use side lights and in poor visibility use fog lights as well. n a motorway without a hard shoulder, in most situations a vehicle can be driven to an emergency area. These are spaced regularly and are marked with blue signs featuring an orange SOS telephone symbol, to indicate the distance to the next one.   

• Get safe - If it is safe to do so, and you can get out with any passengers, exit your vehicle on the side furthest from traffic. If it is not safe to do so, stay in your vehicle and wait for help. Keep well away from moving traffic and your own vehicle. Get behind a safety barrier where there is one, and where it is safe to do so. If you’re on a verge, be aware of any unseen hazards such as uneven ground or debris.   

• Get help – contact National Highways on 0300 123 5000 and then a breakdown recovery provider.   
If unable to exit the vehicle and get to a safe place, have stopped in a live traffic lane or feel life is in danger, stay in the vehicle with seatbelts and hazard lights on and call 999 immediately.   

For more information visit: https://nationalhighways.co.uk/breakdowns/  
A series of vehicle checks videos are available to help people carry out basic vehicle checks before they set off on their travels.  

National Highways has advice about traffic conditions on its website, Twitter feeds, and information line (0300 123 5000).  

Notes to Editors

National Highways is the wholly government-owned company responsible for modernising, maintaining and operating England’s motorways and major A roads.

Real-time traffic information for England’s motorways and major A roads is available via the Traffic England website, local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile apps. Local Twitter services are also available.

For further information please contact National Highways' press office (24hrs) on 0844 693 1448 and select the most appropriate option:

Option 1: National enquiries (9am to 5.30pm) and out of hours for urgent enquiriesOption 2: North West (9am to 5.30pm)Option 3: Yorkshire and North East (9am to 5.30pm)Option 4: West Midlands (9am to 5.30pm)Option 5: East Midlands (9am to 5.30pm)Option 6: East (9am to 5.30pm)Option 7: South East (9am to 5.30pm)Option 8: South West (9am to 5.30pm)