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Is Britain heading for gridlock?

by Hugh Wilson | 18 Nov 2015

Statistics released this week by the Department of Transport confirm what many motorists will instinctively know: your commute into work in the morning is taking longer.

According to new results from the Department’s congestion study, the average speed on England’s A roads at peak times on weekday mornings is now just 23.6mph, slower in every region than 12 months ago.

To put that into perspective, Usain Bolt has a peak sprinting speed of nearly 28mph.

Unsurprisingly, London commuters have it worst of all. In the capital, average speeds between 7am and 10am on weekdays (excluding school holidays) are a sluggish 14.8mph.

“Our roads are getting busier, meaning the network each morning is under real strain in certain locations,” said RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams. “Weary motorists are likely to feel more 'rushtration' on their morning commute for a fair while yet.”

Gary Rae, campaigns director for road safety charity Brake, said: "The figures are heading the wrong way and we're heading for gridlock. The Government needs to get a grip and outline what it intends to do."

AutoCare `and Approved Garages’ network manager Maria McCullough warned that the kind of stop start driving many morning commuters will be familiar with adds extra wear and tear to vehicles.

“We strongly recommend that all drivers keep up with weekly and monthly checks - oil and coolant levels, tyre pressure and tread depth, and so on – and stick religiously to their vehicle manufacturer’s service schedule,” she says.

“That’s important for everybody, but as commutes slow down and cars spend more time stopping and starting, or idling in standing traffic, taking care of our cars to extend their lives and keep repair costs to a minimum is even more crucial.”

Previous research by the Daily Mirror, based on Department of Transport figures, found that the A407 Cricklewood Road in Barnet, Greater London, is the slowest in the country with infuriating average peak time speeds of just 2.8mph.

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