Motorists are being warned to expect high levels of traffic this weekend as an expected 10 million cars will to return to the roads following lockdown rules being eased.

The rules, which will allow people to travel and stay in the houses of friends and family, have been eased for the first time since the lockdown was imposed at the end of March.

According to the RAC, 31 per cent of motorists are planning to travel on the weekend of July 4 – meaning around 10.5 million cars could be taking to the roads.

The study surveyed 1,400 drivers, with 11 per cent saying they would head to a family member’s house, with a further eight per cent saying they would stay at a friend’s home. If that trend extends to the country, that could mean an additional 6.5 million cars on the road.

But it’s not just people visiting friends and family that will be taking to the roads. Easing of the lockdown restrictions have also meant that campsites, hotels and B&Bs can reopen, and the survey has shown that a further nine per cent will be taking advantage of getaways this weekend. That would account for a further three million car journeys.

RAC breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “These figures suggest that after 15 weeks of lockdown, a large proportion of drivers in England are desperate to reconnect with friends, family and indeed nature by staying overnight, be that in a house or on a camping or caravan site.

“This could lead to some busy conditions on the roads, with the location of queues likely to be dependent on just how far people travel – motorways and major A-roads could end up taking the brunt of the traffic if people have longer distances to drive to see family and friends or to take a weekend break.”

Despite lockdown restrictions lifting in England, with the exception of Leicester that’s having localised restrictions in place, motorists are being urged to remember that coronavirus remains a threat, and to maintain social distancing while out and about. Full government guidance can be read here.