Coronavirus lockdown sees massive decrease in UK car trips

There have been up to 80% fewer car journeys on UK roads since the coronavirus lockdown began over three weeks ago, analysis by the AA has suggested.

They reviewed more than 15,000 daily cars journeys and established a pattern of travel during the lockdown. The analysis found weekday journeys were around 60% lower than normal levels, falling another 10% on Saturdays and then heading towards 80% on Sundays.

The Easter period saw a 10% increase on Thursday and with journeys down around two-fifths from the pre-lockdown period.

Although the sunny weather will have tempted more people into their cars, the AA says pre-Easter food shopping probably accounted for most of the elevated levels.

On Easter Sunday, car trips dropped to their lowest level yet and Easter Monday travel barely added another 10%.


Photo Credit – The AA.

Edmund King, AA President said: ‘For the most part, families and car drivers respected the lockdown and didn’t revert to the usual Easter exodus, travelling to see friends or out into the country for exercise,

‘Empty motorways were testament to car owners heeding government advice and not taking a holiday from the lockdown.

‘Overall, we expected some increase in car journeys after the initial collapse as essential workers and volunteers took to the road again. However, the AA thinks that measures, such as police clamping down on cars parked at beauty spots away from where people live, may keep car journeys at their current low level for a while yet.

‘Police have also said that although the roads are quieter, they have seen some excessive speeding. There is no excuse for speeding even if the roads and motorways are almost empty. Speeding has l’d to several crashes over the last few days which ties up the resources of the emergency services, the NHS and potentially takes up precious hospital beds.’

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Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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