Revealed: Alternate routes to the UK’s busiest roads


New research reveals motorists in the UK who drive to work feel angry, anxious and irritable after their morning journey.

In a national survey of drivers, 66% said commuting on busy and congested roads makes them feel stressed and less motivated to start the day.

Using Department for Transport’s traffic count data to identify the most congested sections of UK roads per region, Cooper BMW has illustrated alternative routes to the UK’s busiest roads to help reduce the stress of British drivers on their morning commute.

In 2016 there were 1,687,481 vehicles driving on the busiest stretches of roads in the UK.

These new insights reveal that 1,113,737 (66%) of these drivers are suffering from morning stress and reduced productivity levels.

Whilst 556,868 (33%) believe their work performance is being directly affected.

The results of the national commuter survey conducted by the leading franchised retailer group revealed that 69% of respondents commute via motorways and busy A and B roads, during peak times.

Unsurprisingly, zero respondents admitted to enjoying sitting in traffic every day yet 51% wish there was an alternative route to take.

A notable 46% have never actually looked for an alternative route to work to avoid the stress.

Suzy Reading Chartered Psychologist, specialising in wellbeing, stress management and facilitation of healthy lifestyle change, said:

“Taking an alternative route to work is beneficial because it switches off ‘auto-pilot’ and encourages us to see with fresh eyes. Novelty can be a mood booster, such as noticing new things along the way like places of interest or natural beauty. Switching up our journey also breaks expectations of where we should be at a certain time, allowing us to relax into our commute.

“Stress is bad for us in the morning because the cascading of stress hormones released can leave us feeling frazzled, reactive, anxious, low in mood and energetically depleted before the demands of the work day has even begun.

“Because stress has an impact on mood, subjective energy levels and mental clarity, this can have a significant effect on all aspects of work performance. It potentially impacts the quality of decisions made, work output and can add strain to relationships in the workplace.

“Taking some time to nourish ourselves before our working day begins and time to unwind on the transition from work to home can really boost wellbeing.”

The Department for Transport’s street-level traffic data for 2016, confirming the UK’s busiest stretches of road are shown in the table below.

The usual suspects such as the M25 and the M1 are the biggest culprits, as well as a major A-road in the North East.

Browse alternative routes to the busiest stretches of road and advice from Chartered Psychologist, Suzy Reading, here.

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