Motorists are being urged to drive with care on what has been identified as the worst day of the year for road accidents.
Around 40% more accidents than average were recorded on September 1 last year as swathes of motorists returned from holidays.
And in the previous two years, the rate was 30% higher than the summer holiday average.
The fact that September 1 falls on a Saturday this year means the number of crashes is likely to be higher still, say experts.
Sarah Vaughan, motor director at AXA insurance which published the study, said: "Every year we see a surge of accidents at this time of year as people head back after the August bank holiday, or return home after their summer holidays.
"Generally speaking we tend to see lots of accidents on our roads over the few days following the Bank Holiday Monday.
"However, we are particularly concerned this year that the 'bogey' date of 1 September also falls on a Saturday which is traditionally a big switchover day for holidaymakers.
"We would urge all motorists to take special care driving home and plan their journey to eliminate the stresses that often cause needless accidents."
She added that drivers could reduce the risk of a collision by leaving plenty of time for journeys, taking breaks on long trips and checking traffic information to avoid congested routes.