Thursday, 30 May 2013

Bank Holiday weekends are no fun for motorists

So another Bank Holiday weekend’s been and gone. How was yours?

If you were sensible you probably spent it trying to shelter your pint from the searing heat of the sun in a beer garden of your choice, enjoying a round of a rather different sort at the Royal Birkdale or – if you were feeling adventurous – trying to avoid a DIY-induced trip to your nearest Accident & Emergency.

It’s just a shame, then, that I loathe Bank Holidays with a venom usually only reserved for Bob Geldof, the music of and the Kia Pride. Part of the problem is that – unlike days you’ve chosen to take our your holiday allowance, when the world truly is your oyster and you’re free to make whatever carefully considered plans you like for it – Bank Holidays are essentially days when the Government tells you that you must have fun. Whitehall telling you to enjoy yourself is like telling a six-year-old child to go to sleep – because of the imperatives involved, it ain’t gonna happen.

But worse still is the unintended but inevitable byproduct of Britain’s population being told, en masse, to have a good time; the slightly silly amounts of traffic on the major roads and motorways from clocking off work on Friday right through to the following Tuesday morning. As much I love cars and driving, even I was wishing someone would get on with inventing a successful teleportation system as I sat in the same two mile stretch of M6 for the 45th minute last Friday night. If you can liken Britain’s road network to a living, breathing thing, then the Bank Holiday weekend represents the clogged arteries that come after the nation collectively gorging itself on the double cheeseburger that is the working week.

I can see the retort coming already; perhaps, rather than being one of these people inconveniently helping cause a bit of congestion, I should have just avoided travelling? I would have loved to have travelled at a different time but I could only leave work to get where I needed to be when – you guessed it – work finished. I’d only dared venture onto the M6, at rush hour on a Friday night on a Bank Holiday weekend, because it connects where I’d come from with where I wanted to go. Thanks to the brilliance of Bank Holiday weekends, that’s the predicament everyone else was in too.

There was that idiotic suggestion by some Government think tank that Bank Holidays should be abolished altogether, but really what Whitehall ought to do, for the nation’s collective commuting sanity, is find a way of managing the congestion nightmares they cause for thousands of people, none of whom especially want to be stuck there.

That or get busy giving a grant to whoever can invent a teleporter.


  1. I love the article you have written here! It is unfortunate that I spend my bank holiday getting my car MOT'd, on the bright side it gave me a chance to have a wonder around Guilford!