With an estimated 31.2 million journeys happening between 17 December and Christmas Eve, it’s fair to say this isn’t the most wonderful time of the year to be on the road. So if you’re getting behind the wheel to visit family and friends during the festive period, use these handy tips to help keep things as safe and stress-free as possible.

Plan your trip

Nothing dents the Christmas spirit more than being stuck in traffic. So before you hit the road, especially for longer journeys, plan ahead so you can prepare for any potential delays and avoid roadworks.


It’s a good idea to check the RAC’s route planner, look for any likely problems, and then plan around them.

Time your trip

Busy periods on the roads are pretty predictable, so avoid them if you can. Use the RAC’s ‘Beat the Queues’ guide below. If you have the flexibility to avoid the busiest travel times, it should make your journey more straightforward and stress free.

Be careful the morning after

With Christmas party season in full swing, drink driving is something to be extra aware about. The morning after a night out can be a dangerous situation because you still may not be sober enough to drive. The RAC suggests that if you need to think about whether you’re in a fit state to drive, the chances are you’re probably not.

Keep your presents under wraps

If you’ve loaded the car up with presents for the family, you want to make sure they stay there. So keep them hidden away from view like you would with any valuables. Perhaps cover them or lock them away in the boot, rather than being exposed to prying eyes.

Pack your Christmas spirit

Things are bound to be a bit slower than usual, so try to enjoy your journey in the spirit of the season. If you’re travelling with children, make sure they have plenty of things to keep them entertained, such as snacks, games or movies. A Christmas playlist is a sure-fire way to make the time go quicker – even if the traffic’s not.