Plan ahead to beat the Christmas traffic rush

RACQ has revealed the best and worst times to hit the road for Christmas celebrations to avoid dreaded holiday traffic.

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Club spokesperson Lauren Ritchie said the return of border restrictions would create a traffic nightmare on the M1 for motorists travelling into Queensland over the festive period.

“Christmas traffic is already predicted to be heavy given how many people are taking drive holidays but with border restrictions as well, we should expect very long delays,” Ms Ritchie said.

“We expect the Pacific Motorway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast to be busiest on Christmas Eve between 10am and 2pm.

“There could be pockets of congestion from as early as 8am on the M1 and motorists should also remember there are road works happening between Varsity Lakes and Burleigh which could add to their traffic woes.

“If you’re heading to the Sunshine Coast from Brisbane tomorrow, expect similar delays and a spike in travel times between 11am and midday, which is what we’ve seen in previous years.

“The Gateway Motorway northern section is usually a pain point and there are also road works happening on the Bruce Highway between the Caloundra turnoff and Sunshine Motorway.

“If you’re leaving today, don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll escape the traffic, there will still be congestion but hopefully it’s not as heavy.”

Ms Ritchie said traditionally Christmas Day was also busy between Brisbane and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, with delays expected between 10am and 1pm.

“The best advice is to leave early in the morning, or after lunch to beat the traffic no matter what day you’re travelling,” she said.

Ms Ritchie said sadly road crashes during the Christmas season were around 20 percent more likely to result in death or serious injury than crashes that occur during the rest of the year.

“When you get behind the wheel, maintain a safe following distance, make sure you’ve had enough rest, don’t drink and drive, avoid distractions, wear your seat belt and don’t speed.”