The RAC has warned motorists against driving unnecessarily this Friday as commuters join with those getting away for a festive break, meaning expected travel chaos on the roads.

The motoring organisation has dubbed December 22 ‘Frantic Friday’, when the last of the year’s commuters share the roads with those heading away to see family.

While the most traffic is actually expected to take to the roads on Christmas Eve, in reality this Friday is expected to be the worst due to the mix of traffic.

The research by RAC Traffic Watch also expects a steady increase in traffic throughout this week, with 1.4m getaway journeys expected each day in the run up to Saturday. It predicts 1.56m journeys will take place on Saturday and 1.87m journeys on Christmas Eve.

What is expected to be the busiest day, though, is Boxing Day when leisure trippers and those going shopping head to the roads, with an expected 5.3m separate journeys planned.

RAC road traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: “The roads are traditionally busy in the run-up to Christmas, especially when you have commuters, commercial and leisure traffic all competing for space.

“Things tend to get worse on the last working day before Christmas, with ‘Frantic Friday’ this year falling on December 22. We strongly urge drivers planning long journeys to avoid this day if they possibly can.

“As always, the message to drivers is to plan ahead and try to avoid peak times if you can. Depending on where you live in the UK, schools have been breaking up since December 15 so if you have a chance to complete your journey sooner than the end of next week then it might be a good idea to do that.”

Highways England has already announced that roadworks ‘embargos’ will lift over the festive period, helping traffic flow and overall journeys over the busy Christmas period.