AA expects up to 240 breakdowns a day over jam-packed Bank Holiday

AA Patrols are preparing for up to 240 breakdowns a day in what is expected to be one of their busiest weekends of the year.

“The May Bank Holiday kicks off the summer for a number of motorists, which means it’s one of the most hectic weekends in the travel calendar year,” says AA Director of Consumer Affairs, Conor Faughnan. “Last year saw a 25 percent increase in the number of call-outs during that period, so we’re prepared for similar figures this coming weekend.”

According to the AA, the number of breakdowns occurring on Irish roads over past May Bank Holiday periods had been steadily decreasing, with 2014 seeing the lowest number during a five year span. However, last year’s May Bank Holiday saw a sharp rise in breakdowns, leading to a 25 percent increase in Rescue call-outs.

The country-wide analysis of AA Rescue assignments also ranked the most common car faults among last year’s Bank Holiday breakdowns, with over a third of motorists battling with “non-starting” vehicles. This was followed by punctured or defective tyres (14%) and warning lights showing on dashboards (6%).

“For many people this weekend will be the first long journey their car has done in months,” says Conor. “Minor faults can catch them out and cause major headaches, so a little advanced planning can save them an enormous amount of hassle later on.

“Bank Holidays are also notoriously dangerous because people change from their normal driving patterns. The big killers on Irish roads are drink-driving, speeding and not wearing seatbelts but fatigue is a major problem too. We’d urge motorists to slow down, take breaks and stay safe this Bank Holiday weekend,” adds Conor.

The AA offers the acronym FLOWER as a handy pre-journey vehicle checklist:

Fuel: keep at least a quarter of a tank of fuel, in case of unexpected delays

Lights: clean and check for blown bulbs and cracked lenses

Oil: cars can consume as much as a litre of oil every 1,000 mi/1,600 km, so check the level when the engine is cold

Water: check coolant and windscreen wash levels, topping up as required

Electrics: make sure that your electric radiator cooling fan starts running when the engine gets hot – check this by running the engine with the car stationary

Rubber: check tyre tread and pressure and increase pressure if carrying full load; inspect wiper blades for any damage and replace if necessary

AA Roadwatch Top Traffic Hotspots:

  • The N21 Limerick/Tralee Rd is expected to be a busy route, especially at Adare and further south a stop/go system is in place for works between Abbeyfeale and Castleisland at Headleys Bridge until 8pm on Friday (29th) and delays are likely


  • M50 southbound from J15 Kilternan down to the M11 and then as far as J5 Bray North


  • M7 Dublin/ Limerick Rd southbound between J6 Castlewarden and J11 M9 (but especially between J7 Kill and J10 Naas South)


  • N4/M4 Dublin/Sligo Rd between the Chapelizod Bypass and J7 Maynooth – though the heaviest traffic tends to be between J4 Newcastle and J6 Celbridge. Delays are also expected further west on this route through Carrick on Shannon


  • N17 Galway/Sligo Rd northbound will see long delays into Claregalway and Tuam


  • The N18 Galway/Limerick Rd southbound at Clarinbridge


  • The N40 South Ring Rd in Cork City; particularly eastbound between J6 Kinsale Rd and the Dunkettle Interchange


  • The N25 Cork/Waterford Rd eastbound heading into Castlemartyr. There are also works taking place at various points along this route which may add to delays. On the same route, near the Kilkenny/Wexford border, there will be long delays heading into New Ross from the Waterford side

For a full list of the routes affected, please see AA Roadwatch.

Fig 1. Breakdowns occurring over May Bank Holiday weekends 2011-2015:

Date: 2nd-4th May 2015
Breakdowns: 719
Date: 3rd-5th May 2014
Breakdowns: 576
Date: 4th-6th May 2013
Breakdowns: 633
Date: 5th-7th May 2012
Breakdowns: 644
Date: 30th-2nd May 2011
Breakdowns: 696


Fig 2. Breakdowns by fault during 2nd-4th May Bank Holiday 2015:

Fault Type *Occurrences as %
Won’t start 35
Other 20
Wheel change spare available 14
Warning light on dash 6
Cut out won’t start 6
Flat battery 5
Wheel change no spare 3
Keys locked inside 3
Clutch 3
Lights left on 2
Can’t get gear 1
Petrol into diesel 1
Road traffic accident 1
Overheating 1
Out of fuel 1


*These figures have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

Comments are closed.