Heavy rain, rail strikes and motorway crashes created travel misery for thousands attempting to drive home for Christmas on Friday, as congestion worsened across the UK.
Accidents on the M1 and flooding which has forced a partial closure of the M25 are among disruptions causing major traffic jams just two days before Christmas, the AA has warned.
The insurance company said it has attended 9,000 breakdowns throughout the day, with more expected as commuters continue to join the getaway traffic.
A ten mile-long queue of traffic was left backing up on the M25, after the motorway was closed from junction 11 at Woking to junction 12 at the M3 due to flooding.
Two out of four lanes were later reopened, but congestion persisted.
AA Roadwatch has reported problems on motorways across the nation, from the M90 west of Edinburgh to the M11 near Stansted Airport.
Transport analytics company Inrix expects journey times by road to be around 14% longer compared with the same period last year.
Mr King said: “Friday and Saturday will be the busiest on the roads with some 17 million trips each day.
“Then we’re expecting Christmas Day to be quieter with shorter local journeys. On Boxing Day traffic will pick up again with approximately 15 million trips as people head out to see friends and family.”
The RAC urged motorists to carry out pre-journey checks on their vehicle before setting off, to reduce the chance of suffering a breakdown.
National Highways said almost 98% of England’s motorways and major A-roads will be fully open until the end of January 2 due to it completing and lifting roadworks.