Driving home for Christmas Advice

Traffic predictions

While it might be wet and windy outside, motorists have been taking to the roads in their droves this festive season. According to AA Roadwatch, traffic levels in Ireland have been at their heaviest in recent years and are unlikely to relent over the season. In fact, AA Roadwatch are predicting bumper-to-bumper traffic especially in the run-up to the 25th.

If you’re going to be out and about on Christmas Eve, AA Roadwatch are forecasting heavy traffic on the following routes for 24 Dec. up until 6pm – after that time, traffic is expected to die down.

  • M50 southbound from J7 Lucan to J17 M11
  • M7 Dublin/ Limerick Rd especially between J6 Castlewarden and J10 Naas South
  • M8 Dublin/ Cork Rd approaching Cork City @ J17 Watergrasshill
  • N40 South Ring Rd in Cork City; particularly between J6 Kinsale Rd and the Dunkettle Interchange
  • N11 Dublin/ Wexford Rd from J5 Bray North to J8 Kilmacanogue
  • N4/ M4 Dublin/ Sligo Rd from Chapelizod Bypass to J7 Maynooth and also further west through Carrick on Shannon
  • N21 Limerick/ Tralee Rd past Patrickswell to Adare and then again from Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale
  • N18 Limerick/ Galway Rd through Gort and again further north from Clarinbridge to Oranmore
  • N17 Tuam Rd from Loughgeorge to Claregalway
  • N20 Cork/ Limerick Rd between Mallow and Buttevant

Traffic on Christmas Day

AA Roadwatch (who will be working on the day much like their colleagues in AA Rescue) say traffic will be almost non-existent as people are most likely to stay in with their family for the day.

Traffic on St. Stephen’s Day

Local town centres are likely to be quite busy due to retail sales, so AA Roadwatch are advising potential shoppers to leave early to avoid queues and to plan for weather conditions.

Traffic on New Year’s Eve

Dublin City is likely to be very busy from 6pm onwards as party-goers head out for the night. Outside of this, AA Roadwatch report that traffic levels are likely to be normal providing weather conditions are okay.

Driving tips

Before heading off, take a few minutes to do the basic checks on your car, not forgetting to top up the windscreen wash, check and clean your lights, and adjust tyre pressures for a full load, if required. Click here for more tips on car checks this winter.

Whether you’re filling up the boot with Christmas presents or visiting relatives with all the family in tow, bear in mind that heavier loads are likely to affect the car’s handling. Make sure that everything is secure (including your passengers) and that larger/heavier objects are kept low down. Click here for more tips on how to safely load your car.

With an unsettled forecast, pack a few extra warm and waterproof layers, food, water, torch, fully-charged mobile and a sat-nav in case of any unexpected diversions. Click here for tips on driving in heavy rain, high winds, fog, cold, snow and ice.

A lot of breakdowns occur simply because the driver has run out of fuel so make sure to fill up before you set off. If you want to save time, fill up the day before so you’re prepared for the rest of the period.

It’s important to keep some breakdown essentials in the car – a fully charged mobile phone, a torch, warm clothes, comfortable and waterproof shoes, hot drinks and snacks. Also, don’t forget to download the new AA App for the quickest way to report a breakdown. For more on car journey essentials click here.


December 25th is generally one of the quieter days of the year for our AA Patrols on which they expect to recover an average of 60 breakdowns. While the roads are generally expected to be at their quietest, you would be surprised with the amount of families who’ll be stopped in their tracks while on a car journey.

Every breakdown is stressful, but when it happens on Christmas Day it can be really difficult. You’ll soon find that most garages are closed and there’s a real chance of being stranded at the roadside.

To avoid that risk, why not join AA Membership in time for the holidays and put your mind at ease? You’ll never be left stranded because our unique rescue service covers you in any car, 24/7, 365 days a year – yes, even on Christmas.

If you do breakdown, fret not for the fastest and easiest way to report it is now through our new AA App. We’ll locate you and you’ll be able to track your AA Patrol, so you can keep everyone updated as to your arrival – and make sure they keep you some leftovers! The AA App also contains to-the-minute Roadwatch updates, so you can keep an eye on traffic and the best routes to take along your journey. If you’re travelling in unfamiliar surroundings, or you just want to relax in the knowledge of arriving to your destination in one piece, download Routeplanner – we’ll get you there.

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