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19million to hit the roads in the frantic Friday rush

THE Friday before Christmas is set to be the busiest traffic day of the festive season with 19million drivers taking to the roads.

Last-minute Christmas shopping, along with the rush to get away from work and the end of the school term, will see 59 per cent of motorists heading for major routes on December 21, says the AA. The Saturday is set to be the most hectic shopping day with 53 per cent of 20,000 drivers polled saying they will be in their car at some point.

With Christmas Eve falling on a Monday, millions of workers will already be at home but 50 per cent of those in the survey say they will be out visiting friends and family.

AA patrol driver of the year George Flinton advised: ‘Check the traffic reports before you go and try to travel when it’s quieter to beat the jams.’

Train travellers face disruption with Network Rail warning of ‘significant changes’ on services to Heathrow and Gatwick airports, as well as London’s Paddington and Victoria stations. Engineering work is taking place around Manchester Victoria, while track improvement work will affect the Bedford to Kettering line.