Do Lockdown Roads Feel Busier? RAC Data Reveals Traffic is at May 2020 Levels.
An analysis of RAC data confirms suspicions that car use by drivers in the UK has not fallen to the same extent as it did during the first coronavirus lockdown in March 2020.
During the first week of the latest lockdown, data from RAC Black Box Insurance customers shows there were on average 10% more cars in daily use than during the first week of March’s lockdown, leading to 31% more daily miles driven. This represents a 22% reduction in car use compared to normal (first week of February 2020).
The RAC believes traffic volumes are now at a similar level to the middle of last May, which interestingly was the point restrictions first started to be eased, with people encouraged to return to workplaces if they were unable to work from home.
According to RAC data, the quietest week for traffic since the start of the pandemic was the second week of the first coronavirus lockdown (w/c 30 March), with a 41% reduction in car usage compared to normal.
This contrasts with the first full week of September (w/c 7 September) when the RAC recorded its highest levels of car use of the year as schools in England returned after the summer holidays, with traffic back to normal levels.
A further sign that vehicles are being used more during this latest lockdown is the extremely high number of breakdowns attended by RAC patrols so far this year.
Incredibly, the RAC had its busiest start to a New Year on record with 8% more breakdowns handled over the first four days of January compared to the same period in previous years.
While the cold weather and the fact cars were used even less than normal over Christmas as a result of the coronavirus will both have been major factors, the data confirms that drivers are still deeming it necessary to use their vehicles for essential trips in 2021.