'Bumper-to-bumper' traffic predicted in the run-up to Christmas

Driving home for Christmas?

'Bumper-to-bumper' traffic predicted in the run-up to Christmas

Motorists head towards the traffic lights at Newlands Cross and the N7 route to Cork and Limerick, as they come off the M50 and the Red Cow Junction | Image: RollingNews.ie

AA Roadwatch is warning drivers to expect jammed roads in the final days before Christmas.

According to the traffic information provider, traffic levels in Ireland have been at their heaviest in recent years and are unlikely to relent over the season.

While commuter traffic will gradually tail off throughout this week, it is likely to be Friday, December 23rd, before any major drop offs in traffic levels can be seen.

With Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, the traditional Christmas Eve exodus from Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway cities is likely to take place one day earlier. AA Roadwatch are expecting the worst delays occurring in commuter towns.

"Motorists can expect to see a surge in city-centre traffic on Thursday, as last-minute shoppers try to take advantage of late closing hours to get all of their gifts sorted,” said Arwen Foley, Editor of AA Roadwatch. “Meanwhile, on Friday, traffic levels will start to build up from 1pm as those leaving city centres around the country make their way home for Christmas before traffic starts to die down again after approximately 4pm."

Following the big day itself, local town centres are likely to experience mid-heavy congestion due to retail sales on December 27th.

Breakdowns

Last year, AA Rescue attended to 294 breakdowns on Christmas Eve and a further 108 on Christmas Day, up from 255 Christmas Eve and 56 Christmas Day breakdowns in 2014.

Meanwhile, between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day 2015 the company’s rescue services attended 602 breakdowns, up from 476 in the same period in the year previous.

"While the mild weather we’ve experienced so far this winter has helped reduce the number of breakdowns on Irish roads in the last few weeks, our AA Rescue services will still be operating over the Christmas period," Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs added.