It’s one of the busiest times of the year on England’s road network with millions of football fans gearing up to travel across the country to see their beloved team in action.
And to help ensure journeys are as smooth as possible, Highways England has shown roadworks the red card by lifting more than 800 miles of roadworks over the festive period.
To help journeys flow more smoothly and to keep disruption to a minimum, almost 98 per cent of motorways and major A-roads will be roadworks-free in time for Christmas, meaning sports lovers and shoppers can get to their destination as smoothly as possible.
Where it is safe to do so, roadworks will be lifted or suspended on England’s motorways and major A-roads by 6am on Friday 20 December until 12.01am on Thursday 2 January.
The decision to lift roadworks has been welcomed by the English Football League (EFL) with football fixtures taking place across the length of the country on 26 December.
Director of Communications at the EFL, Mark Rowan, said: “The EFL welcomes the decision taken to lift or suspend roadworks on England’s motorways and A-roads over the Christmas and New Year period, one which remains an important part of the footballing calendar for thousands of fans up and down the country.
“Every year, EFL Clubs play their part in bringing together friends and families as they travel to festive fixtures, so we hope this will make their journeys that little bit easier.”
Highways England’s customer service director Melanie Clarke said: “We know that the festive period is a busy time for football supporters and that’s why we’re doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible by keeping around 98 per cent of the road network we manage free from roadworks.
“And we’re asking drivers to be prepared too before setting off so they don’t miss the big match. We know from experience that almost half of breakdowns can easily be avoided if motorists carry out simple vehicle checks before their journeys.
“So, before you set off, check traffic conditions, check your vehicle, and make sure you’re aware of the signs and signals on motorway.”
Before they set off, Highways England is urging motorists to:
• Check fuel: Make sure you have enough to get to your destination
• Check tyres: Check your tyre pressure and the condition of your tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure the tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, which is the legal limit
• Check engine oil: Use your dipstick to check oil before any long journey, and top up if needed - take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual
• Check water: To ensure you have good visibility, always keep your screen wash topped up so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen
• Check your lights: If your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself at risk. In addition, light malfunctions can be a reason for your vehicle to fail its MOT
Highways England has advice about traffic conditions on its website, Twitter feeds, and information line (0300 123 5000).
If you’re towing, Highways England is also reminding you to ensure that you have the correct licence and insurance to tow whatever the weight, make sure you have connected correctly, and always ensure your load is secure and within the limits for your vehicle before setting off.
A series of vehicle checks videos are available to help people carry out basic vehicle checks before they set off on their travels.
Highways England is also urging drivers to stay safe by adhering to motorway signage, including the red X signals.
Highways England closes lanes for a reason and drivers ignoring red X signs put themselves and others at risk.
Drivers planning to use the Dartford Crossing are reminded to pay Dart Charge in advance or by midnight the day after crossing.