How many hours do drivers waste in traffic each year?

26 Jan 2024
Last Modified:
26 Jan 2024

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Ever wondered how long you’re stuck in traffic every year? Read on…

New research indicates that drivers in England spend an average of 38 hours stuck in road delays annually. This translates to more than 2,200 minutes or 136,000 seconds behind the wheel due to various road issues.

The study utilised Department for Transport (DfT) data on average road delay per vehicle mile and DVLA mileage data from 2022 to determine the yearly time loss. This calculation was then applied to the estimated number of licensed vehicles nationwide to ascertain each driver’s annual idle time.

The analysis considered delays on both the strategic road network (comprising major motorways and A-roads) and local A-roads. Surprisingly, the data revealed that the majority of hours are lost on local A-roads.

On average, drivers lose 31 hours to delays on local authority motorways and A-roads annually. Additionally, motorists waste over six hours on the strategic road network managed by National Highways, equivalent to nearly 400 minutes or 24,000 seconds.

Collectively, this equates to each driver losing a day and a half due to delays in 2022.

How should drivers prepare?

Veli Emirzadeogululari, Director at VH Recovery, attributes road delays to heavy traffic volumes, stating: “Although we appreciate National Highways’ efforts in removing the majority of roadworks from high-speed roads, which are typically the busiest routes, the sheer volume of drivers increases the likelihood of breakdowns, consequently leading to delays.”

Veli also advises drivers to anticipate delays during long journeys, stating: “We encourage motorists to prepare for extended travel times by checking their car’s oil and coolant levels beforehand and packing necessary items in case of an unfortunate breakdown.

“Essentials to pack include additional warm and waterproof clothing, sturdy footwear, provisions of food and drink, and a fully charged mobile phone with an extra power bank to ensure continuous power.”

In total, all drivers collectively lose 55 million days to delays each year, equivalent to 1.3 billion hours.

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