Tomorrow afternoon is predicted to be the busiest time on the roads over the festive period, with 20 million cars set to take to the road network as families make their Christmas getaway.

Traffic experts INRIX have stated that major motorways including the M25, M1 and M6 are set to be the roads hit hardest by delays, reports the Daily Mail. To blame for the increase in journey times is the combination of Friday rush hour along with schools and many workers breaking up for Christmas holidays.

As a result of the increased volume in traffic, a a 40-mile trip around the M25 anti-clockwise could take a hefty two hours and 20 minutes compared to just 40 minutes normally. Several rail lines will also be hit with closures due to engineering work.

Drivers would be well advised to steer clear of driving in the afternoon of Friday December 19.

While tomorrow from 4pm is predicted to be the busiest day in terms of traffic, other busy days are expected to include Tuesday 23 and Saturday 27 December, when those who went away for Christmas return home, in anticipation of work the following week, or head out shopping.

Roads to avoid include the M25 anti-clockwise between junction 23 and junction 10. Despite its normal 70mph speed limit, average speeds are likely to drop to less than 20mph, even with extra lanes in use, claims INRIX, more than tripling travel times. Those travelling the 60 miles from junction 21 to 32 on the M1 can expect to see the normal hour-long trip take two hours and 25 minutes. Meanwhile, speeds on the M5 northbound around junction 3 are predicted to drop to a mere 14mph.

Lead scientist at INRIX Greg Hallsworth told the Daily Mail: “Drivers would be well advised to steer clear of driving in the afternoon of Friday December 19.

“There will be significant delays between 12pm and 6pm caused by a combination of the usual Friday evening post-work peak, the start of English school holidays and people driving home for Christmas.”

Picture: Brian Jackson