CAR journeys fell to their lowest levels yet during Easter Sunday’s lockdown, according to the latest figures by AA.
The AA said it has reviewed over 15,000 daily car journeys to establish travel patterns during lockdown.
These patterns show that compared to the normal level, there has been a 60 percent drop in weekday journeys, a 70 percent drop on Saturdays and a roughly 80 percent drop on Sundays.
Easter Sunday saw the biggest drop yet, again around 80 percent of the normal level, with Easter Monday increasing that by another 10 percent.
The data suggests that Britons are following the government’s pleas to stay at home and take pressure off the NHS, even despite the Easter break.
Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “For the most part, families can car drivers respected the lockdown and didn’t revert to the usual Easter exodus, travelling to see friends or out into the country for exercise.
“Overall, we expected some increase in car journeys after the initial collapse as essential workers and volunteers took to the road again.”
But Mr King said that police measures “may keep car journeys at their current low level for a while yet”.
Speeding remains an issue on some roads, though, claimed Mr King, who stressed that “there is no excuse for speeding” even though roads are a lot quieter.
He said there had been “several” crashes over the past few days which “ties up” NHS resources amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Earlier AA data from a poll of over 16,000 of its members had suggested that over 20 million Easter journeys would be cancelled.
More than 78 percent of those polled before the lockdown said that they had been planning to drive somewhere for an outing during the Easter weekend.
But this new data suggests that most of those who had planned to get away over the weekend did not end up doing so.
Meanwhile, the AA also said that it is offering free roadside assistance to all NHS staff, which Mr King claims has already been used hundreds of times.
He said: “We will also have almost 200 patrols helping Ambulance Services across London, the east of England and the west Midlands to help service, repair and get more ambulances on the roads to help save lives.”
The AA did not give any details as to how long this free NHS assistance might last.
In other travel news, police in Craven, North Yorkshire, said that traffic levels in the district have fallen to levels not seen since the 1950s.
This has coincided with an increase in cyclists taking to the roads, the Craven Herald reports, with police urging cyclists to take special care.
Sergeant Kirsten Aldridge of North Yorkshire’s major collision investigation team said some drivers had been “dramatically exceeding” speed limits, and warned this puts pedestrians and cyclists “at significant risk.”
She added: ”We’d remind drivers that they should always expect the unexpected around each corner, especially at the moment, and pass cyclists at a minimum distance of 1.5 metres when it is safe to do so.”
The lockdown restrictions have coincided with a huge drop in air pollution levels across the UK and elsewhere, possibly as a result of fewer cars on the road.
Levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is produced by car exhausts, is down by around 40 percent across the UK compared to the same period last year, the BBC reports.
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