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The Cost of a UK Traffic Jam

There isn’t a driver in the world who enjoys sitting in traffic. But whatever your approach to it – swearing under your breath, switching lanes back and forth, cranking up the radio, doing your make up in the mirror, or beeping your horn in frustration (not allowed, by the way!) – there’s something that unites every driver in that queue. The common factor? We are all losing money because of traffic.

Traffic jamNew calculations have revealed that, on average, we each lose £1,168 a year to traffic jams. This figure has been reached by totting up fuel wasted, working time lost, and even a price rise in household purchases due to the increased cost of shipping in slow conditions.

Of course, average figures are balanced from all the data, including the most and least affected groups of people. Some motorists will be even more out of pocket than that £1,168 figure if they live in more congested areas. Londoners won’t be surprised to hear that they are the hardest hit of all UK cities. In fact, the average driver in England’s capital spent some staggering 74 hours sitting completely still in traffic last year. Disgruntled residents face increased costs or losses of £2,430 on average. Considering what a typical driver spends on an insurance policy, or on the maintenance of their new and used cars, this figure is quite a shock.

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London’s annual traffic hours are almost double of any other place in the UK’s top ten (or bottom ten, depending how you look at it). The next worst is Manchester, with 38 traffic hours per driver per year. Wales didn’t quite make the shortlist, but its busiest region is Newport, with each driver sitting in traffic for around 24 hours a year. Only one Scottish location features in the ‘worst ten’ list, as Aberdeen comes in at 10th place with 27 hours per year. It’s also one of only two places in the list which have shown a reduction of traffic hours between 2016 and 2017, a trend which has appeared across several Scottish locations since the improvement of transport links. Roads including the M73, M74 and M8 have cut down on congestion in some of their biggest cities: 10% in Edinburgh, 15% in Glasgow, and an impressive 20% less hours in Aberdeen.

Traffic is frustrating, and gridlock even worse. There’s a special kind of impatience reserved for those times when your car is moving no further than a brand new 4×4 parked on a motor dealer’s forecourt waiting to be test driven on trade plates. We all know that the motor trade can be an expensive part of our lives, but since these costs have been revealed, traffic may become even more of an annoyance to drivers.

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