AA Roadwatch Predict Bumper-to-Bumper Traffic During Christmas Run-Up

While the weather outside may be frightful, motorists are being warned to expect jammed roads throughout the country with AA Roadwatch predicting the busiest festive season in years.

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.

Elaine O’Sullivan, Editor of AA Roadwatch, says: “Christmas Day falls on a Friday this year which will help stagger the getaway traffic, but it’s still going to be very busy at peak times on the major routes.* We’d advise motorists where possible to travel when it’s quieter and to make sure to plan your journey well in advance.” Elaine says that motorists also have a role to play in road safety during the festive period: “With heavy traffic, you often see irresponsible driving as frustrated motorists try to rush through congestion. Unfortunately, this often leads to traffic collisions.”

This week commuter traffic will gradually tail off before falling more significantly on Christmas Eve. Traditionally the exodus from Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway Cities on Christmas Eve begins at about 1pm and dies down at around 4pm, resulting in busy traffic around shopping centres in other towns around the country. In fact, AA Roadwatch say they regularly see the worst delays occurring in commuter towns.

As for Christmas Day itself, AA Roadwatch say traffic will be light as people are most likely to stay in with their family for the day. St. Stephen’s Day, however, will see local town centre’s experiencing mid-heavy congestion due to retail sales, for which AA Roadwatch are advising shoppers to leave early to avoid queues. “There is a wide variety of sporting fixtures on offer this festive season, with the four day Leopardstown Christmas Racing Festival and Limerick Racing Festival both getting underway on St. Stephen’s Day and bringing additional traffic to our roads,” says Elaine.

Both the AA Roadwatch and AA Rescue teams will be working over the Christmas period, and with Met Éireann warning of further nasty weather to come, it’s likely both AA teams will be kept busy. Most garages will be closed for the festive break, so The AA is reminding motorists of the importance of carrying out basic maintenance checks before they set off, such as topping up windscreen wash, checking and cleaning headlights, and adjusting tyre pressures for a full load, if required.

“Of course the roads are very busy in the run-up to Christmas, but you would be surprised at how many people are on the move on the day itself,” says Lar Byrne, AA Patrol of the Year. “If they break down, the culprits are usually either a flat battery or a set of keys locked inside the car. You have the radio and heating on a lot as you’re doing your Christmas present rounds, but those quick visits can easily turn into a much longer one. Thankfully we can readily jumpstart a car and we carry spare replacement batteries, too.”

The AA app is now the quickest way for Members to report a breakdown and allows users to track their Patrol’s arrival on their smartphone – even on Christmas Day. The new app also contains to-the-minute Roadwatch updates for all traffic routes.

AA Rescue tips to ensure your Christmas is a merry one:

  • Not all service stations are open on the 25th – remember to fuel-up in advance using the correct fuel type
  • Make sure to have a spare wheel as a lot of tyre centres and garages are closed
  • To avoid your battery going flat remember to switch off all headlights, interior lights, heaters and the radio when leaving your car
  • Keep a pair of jump leads in your boot
  • Prepare an in-car safety kit, to include: a demisting cloth, de-icer, shovel, salt/sand, AA Membership card, torch, and warning triangle

*AA Roadwatch are predicting heavy traffic on the following routes, 20-24 December:

  • M50 southbound from J7 Lucan to J17 M11
  • M7 Dublin/ Limerick Rd especially between J6 Castlewarden and J10 Naas South
  • M8 Dublin/ Cork Rd approaching Cork City @ J17 Watergrasshill
  • N40 South Ring Rd in Cork City; particularly between J6 Kinsale Rd and the Dunkettle Interchange
  • N11 Dublin/ Wexford Rd from J5 Bray North to J8 Kilmacanogue
  • N4/ M4 Dublin/ Sligo Rd from Chapelizod Bypass to J7 Maynooth and also further west through Carrick on Shannon
  • N21 Limerick/ Tralee Rd past Patrickswell to Adare and then again from Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale
  • N18 Limerick/ Galway Rd through Gort and again further north from Clarinbridge to Oranmore
  • N17 Tuam Rd from Loughgeorge to Claregalway
  • N20 Cork/ Limerick Rd between Mallow and Buttevant

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