AA issues amber traffic warning for A303, M3 and M25 ahead of August bank holiday weekend

Cars queue on the M3 near Winchester Credit: PA

Words by ITV News Meridian Journalist Harry Acton.

The AA has issued an 'amber traffic warning' ahead of the bank holiday getaway this weekend.

The company, which has its headquarters in Basingstoke, is warning drivers to be prepared for delays across major roads and motorways throughout Friday and parts of the weekend.

President of the AA, Edmund King OBE, told ITV Meridian that drivers should expect delays to their journeys and plan accordingly.

He also urged drivers to carry essential items, such as food and drink, with them so that they are prepared for any delays.

The motoring organisation is also encouraging drivers to download What3Words, which allows emergency services to locate stranded drivers more accurately.

The AA's Edmund King OBE tells ITV Meridian why the organisation issued an amber warning.

What is an amber traffic warning?

The AA decided to bring in categories to describe what levels of traffic motorists can expect.

An 'amber warning' means motorists should be prepared to expect issues on their journey.

"Motorists should check local traffic conditions" Mr King said. "It is also highly likely there will be congestion on key routes.

"Really [this warning] is a way to get drivers prepared, much like a weather warning in a flood zone would encourage someone to make preparations.

"It is the same when you are driving you really do have to prepare your car, from checking your tyre pressures to your oil, and preparing yourself - for example food and drink.

"The warnings are all about preparations to help people have a smoother journey."

What roads are likely to be the busiest?

Across the country major motorways are likely to be busy, as millions take to the road.

The AA is expecting the 'usual suspects' to be particular pinch points, which are listed below.

  • M25 - west side is likely to suffer delays and congestion.

  • M3 - in the Winchester area where the A34 meets and there is a 50mph average speed check in force.

  • M4 - delays are possible in the Reading area.

  • A34 - delays are likely where the A34 meets the M3 and M4.

  • A303 - near to Stonehenge and surrounding areas where two lane carriageway becomes one lane.

What are the peak times?

The AA is advising drivers to plan their journey carefully this weekend, with smooth journeys predicted if you leave in the early hours or late at night.

Due to the volume of traffic, roads are likely to be at their busiest in 'peak hours', which are after 8am and before 7pm.

If you can, drivers are encouraged to postpone journeys to later in the day when traffic levels will be lower.

However, Edmund warned that Friday night will be extremely busy, along with Saturday during the day.

For many this won't be an option however, and Edmund says drivers who have to travel in the busiest hours should be aware of their options.

"It is being prepared. Giving the kids something to do in the car [for example]." Edmund added.

"We did a survey on 'what is the most frequent cry from the back of the car?' and unsurprisingly more than a third said 'are we there yet?'.

"It is ways of keeping the kids entertained, keeping yourself hydrated."

When will things return to normal on the roads?

The amber warning is in force until Tuesday, as Monday is expected to be another busy day when drivers make return journeys.

However, some motorists are likely to travel back on Tuesday or Wednesday, which could lead to congestion and further delays.

These roads are likely to be the 'usual suspects' once again, but congestion is not likely to be as bad as at the height of the weekend.