Tomorrow is gridlock day

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN IS gridlocked and this time it's official. Tomorrow will be the worst day on record for traffic congestion.

Cars will cause traffic jams up and down the country as a combination of roadworks, half-term holidays and the Friday rush take their toll. About 750,000 vehicles are expected to clog up Britain's 3,250km of motorways, travelling at the same speed they would in a town centre. It will be the culmination of a week that has seen 6 million vehicles caught in congestion.

The dire forecasts come from Trafficmaster, which provides statistics for the Government as well as in-car systems for motorists to avoid jams. Their figures show October is the worst month for traffic, that this is the most severe week and that tomorrow will be a nadir for the driver. The company has highlighted 27 hotspots - mostly at big motorway junctions, but also on A-roads.

"Congestion is worse each year in the months of October through to mid-December," said a Trafficmaster spokeswoman. "This is due to evenings drawing in and typical autumnal weather of fog and rain. Friday afternoons are always the worst. The combination of the business motorist trying to get home and the non-business motorist can have quite a significant impact on congestion."

Trafficmaster believes the congestion will cost 525,000 working hours. The list of blackspots includes junctions 6 to 10 of the M6 north of Birmingham which will, ironically, be full of drivers trying to get to the International Motor Show, a celebration of the freedom and enjoyment of motoring.