This may surprise you, though probably won’t if you work in the world of distribution and warehousing : this Friday is traditionally the worst day of the year on the roads! Not the Christmas getaway, not the first Saturday of the summer holidays, but the third Friday in October.
As ever, it’s school holidays that are the catalyst: it’s the start of October half term, a school holiday – unlike summer and Easter – taken the same week by virtually every school in the country. But that’s true of May half term also, so why’s the October half term getaway so bad?
Firstly, it’s the UK’s lovely weather… at least in May (OK, ‘sometimes’ in May). Whereas in October, it’s darker and there’s more chance of rain. Both of these combine to slow speeds down, leading to longer journey times and more cars stuffed with families and lorries laden with pallets spending more time on the roads. And darkness and rain leads to more accidents which, when the roads are already at bursting point, produces gridlock. Secondly, when it’s light and dry in the summer holidays, the authorities kindly reduce roadworks to a minimum but there’s no stoppage for the grim October Black Friday. Thirdly, it’s peak season in retail – grocery and non-grocery – so there’s even more distribution traffic on the road than normal (not the case, for instance, on Christmas Eve).
We hope all our storage customers and warehouse providers get their lorries back safely and promptly on Friday and their pallets tucked away on warehouse racking. But for those that might be at risk of a jam, here’s the current national ‘severe’ roadworks summary from the BBC:
- M1, J 11-12, Bedfordshire.
- M4, J 30-35, South Wales.
- M5, J4A-6, Worcester to M42 junction.
- M6, J1-M1 junction.
- M6, J8 (M5)-J7 (A34). Southbound.
- M6, J21A-23, Cheshire.
- M6, J34, Lancaster.
- M6 (again!), J38, Cumbria. Southbound.
- M8, J6. Westbound.
- M9, J1A-1, Edinburgh. Southbound.
- M56, J7 (A556). Eastbound.
- M73 between M8 junction and M74 junction.
There’s never any jams on the Zupplychain website – your best portal for finding available warehouse space and pallet storage with the speed and ease of a German autobahn!