Drivers have been warned of traffic chaos on the roads this Easter, with long delays expected as more than 14 million cars hit the roads.

The RAC said journeys on some roads could take twice as long as normal, while rail travel will also be disrupted as Network Rail carries out engineering work, with the southern section of the West Coast Main Line closed between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Transport analysis company Inrix predicted that the worst congestion on the roads on Thursday will be between 2pm and 7pm as people on leisure journeys compete for road space with regular commuters.

The busiest route is expected to be the western section of the M25 between the M23 for Gatwick and the M1 for Hertfordshire.

Hereford Times: The RAC has warned some journeys will take twice as long this weekend, while Network Rail also warns of disruptionThe RAC has warned some journeys will take twice as long this weekend, while Network Rail also warns of disruption (Image: Chris Radburn/PA Wire)

Journeys on this stretch from 4pm are expected to take over two hours, which is more than twice as long as usual.

On Good Friday, the lengthiest delays are expected to be between 11am and 3pm, meaning drivers are advised to set off as early as possible in the morning or wait until later in the afternoon.

Two popular routes for holidaymakers – the M5 southbound between Bristol and Taunton, and the M3 between the M25 and the south coast – are likely to be congested, with estimated journey times more than double what they normally are.

RAC Breakdown spokesperson Alice Simpson said: “With Easter falling earlier than usual at the start of the school holidays, it could be carmageddon for holidaymakers.

“Anyone who can delay leaving on Thursday until much later in the evening or set off as early as possible on Good Friday is likely to have a better journey than those who travel during the peak periods of the day.

“Lengthy queues can be expected along routes to the usual hotspots like the West Country, the Lake District and the south coast, especially during the middle of the day when most people make trips.”

Inrix transportation analyst Bob Pishue said: “Although travel times will peak on Thursday and Friday afternoons, drivers should be prepared for longer journeys than normal throughout the entire weekend.

“To avoid the longest delays, we advise adjusting departure times so you’re not travelling in peak commuter hours.”

Network Rail is urging train passengers to check their journey details before they travel as some major routes will be closed due to engineering work.

The Main Line between London Euston and Milton Keynes will be shut for four days from Good Friday.

There will also be disruption in the areas around Glasgow and Huddersfield.

Network Rail’s network strategy director Laurence Bowman said: “We know how important Easter is for families and friends to catch up, and we try to keep as much of the network open as possible.

“There’s never a good time to do the work we need to do but the four days of the bank holiday, when fewer people are travelling, give us the opportunity to do major work we couldn’t do in normal weekend.

“We’ve got 493 different pieces of work taking place this Easter, most happening overnight, including laying over 8,000 metres of new rail and putting down over 40,000 tonnes of new ballast to support the tracks.”