Kingston by pass A3 motorway
Fed up of life in the slow lane? Do you wonder why it seems to take ages to complete what should be the simplest and shortest of journeys? Maybe you are travelling along one of Britain’s most congested roadways and you don’t even know it.

Check out this simple guide to Britain’s busiest roadways to discover if you are falling foul of traffic congestion. If you want more in-depth details, you can see full UK congestion reports here.


Carrying a staggering 165,000 vehicles per day, this is officially Britain’s busiest stretch of highway. Nicknamed ‘the road to nowhere’ because it orbits the circumference of the capital, the section from junctions 14 to 15 from Heathrow down to the M4 is the busiest in the whole of Britain.

Drive here at peak times and you can expect to be waiting in tailbacks for a considerably long time, as 50 per cent of all the worst traffic jams occur on the M25.

The longest recorded tailback was a tragic and eye-watering 49 miles, which built up on 29 July 2011 from Junction 9 near Watford and extending all the way to Junction 5 at Sevenoaks.

A3 Kingston bypass

With 125,000 vehicles per day, the section of the A3 from Malden to Tolworth holds the record for the busiest A-road in Britain. Known for its forest of confusing signage that often leaves drivers baffled as they sit in traffic, this is also one of the UK’s best-avoided roads.

Bedford Road, Clapham

When driving in the capital, steer clear of this tree-lined and deceptively suburban road. The south London residential street is the busiest of its kind, according to the satellite navigation company TomTom.

Researchers found that the road experienced traffic jams for an average of 92 hours a week – more than 13 hours per-day.

Kingsway Tunnel Approach, Merseyside

If you are heading into Wallasey then beware: you could be one of the unfortunate drivers to get stuck in the 90 hours of traffic this approach suffers each week, making it the second-most traffic-jam-prone road measured by hours of delay in the whole of the UK.

B5159 Warburton Bridge Road, Manchester

Coming in third place for the most hours of congestion on the roads of Britain, this highway has 86 hours of misery per week in store for the hapless drivers who might find themselves immobilised there.

Lessons learned?

However, when you’re next stuck in a jam, spare a thought for drivers of yesteryear. The UK’s worst traffic jam occurred on 5 April 1985 when a 40 miles jam occurred on the M1 from Junctions 16 to 18.

The most people involved in UK traffic jam was when an unlucky 200,000 souls were stuck in 50,000 vehicles on the M6 from Charnock Richard and Carnforth in Lancashire on 17 April 1987.

This post was produced by Jeremy Koops.

Image by Cristian Bortes via Flickr