Five die in crashes as holiday getaway begins

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The Independent Online

As thousands headed for the roads yesterday, the traditional Good Friday getaway was marred by a series of fatal road accidents.

William Woodford, 39, his son Luke, eight, and daughter Elinor, four, died when their Ford Escort spun out of control on the A24 in Sussex, hit a road sign and collided with a van. Elinor died just four days before a birthday party her parents had planned for her.

And last night two men were confirmed as dead after a car ploughed into a taxi office on the Isle of Dogs, east London. Another two men were taken to the Royal London hospital with multiple injuries.

The usual bank holiday conditions on roads were evident across Britain. By lunchtime, if all the tailbacks from around the country had been combined they would have stretched more than 200 miles.

Channel tunnel and ferry operators reported an increase in the number of people heading for the continent. Airports were also anticipating a rise in passengers jetting off to warmer spots and ski resorts.

For those staying in Britain there will not be much sunshine but it should remain dry with temperatures between 50 to 54F, average for the time of year.

AA Roadwatch said traffic on the M6 northbound was especially heavy because of daytrippers heading to popular holiday destinations. Worst hit were sections near the Lake District and Blackpool.

A spokesman said: "Things should be calmer now until Monday evening, when people start to return home."

Eurotunnel and ferry crossings to the Continent were operating at almost full capacity.