Traffic chaos expected as train strikes bring country to a standstill

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Today, hundreds of thousands of workers across the UK will be walking out and going on strike, with teachers, train drivers and university staff also taking part in industrial action. As a result, experts have warned that roads will be extremely busy, with many infrequent drivers forced behind the wheel to get to work.

Train drivers will strike on Wednesday (February 1) and Friday (February 3), with most services being cancelled and running times being massively shortened.

It has been described by some as “the largest scale strike day in over a decade”, with millions being impacted from the knock-on effects.

Nextbase is warning drivers to properly prepare for any trips they make that day, as if they break down it could take longer for help to reach them.

Bryn Brooker, head of road safety at Nextbase, said: “Rail strikes force a lot more people onto the roads, particularly motorways.

“If you haven’t driven your car in a while, take some time to make some quick checks before setting off.”

He also advised drivers to make sure they have enough fuel to reach their destination, highlighting that petrol stations on the morning of the strikes could be quite congested.

Motorists should also check their tyres before setting off to ensure they have good pressure, plenty of tread, and no cuts or excessive wear.

A yellow weather warning for wind has been issued for northern Scotland, so drivers are being urged to remain safe.

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Some delays are likely, with some journeys taking longer. This is especially true for high-sided vehicles on exposed routes and bridges.

Mr Brooker added: “Always remember how crucial it is to maintain concentration on the road, even in heavy traffic. 

“If travelling with children, for example, make sure they have plenty to keep them entertained in the back seats during long drives.

“Even with careful preparation and good driving, things can always go wrong. If you are in an incident through no fault of your own, a dash cam will provide an independent record to show this. 

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“This could save you thousands of pounds if it means you can retain your no-claims bonus on your car insurance.”

In the wake of ongoing train strikes, CMAC Group has seen demand for other transport modes at 37 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels.

This is putting pressure on employees across the transport industry, especially those who are self-employed. 

However, there are fears that other sectors cannot handle the demand and pressure as a result of the rail strikes.

Neil Micklethwaite, Chief Operating Officer at CMAC Group has voiced his concerns about the UK’s transport system and pressure on taxi drivers in particular.

He added: “The impact and knock-on effect of the recent rail strikes was completely underestimated. 

“With the recent strikes, we once again saw a surge in demand for alternative transport, with disruption continuing into non-strike days and affecting transport providers, such as taxis, who help to keep the country moving.

“As well as considering rail workers, the Government and local authorities need to double-down and overhaul their approach to other parts of the transport system, ensuring a provision of financial support and safeguarding for small businesses, employees and the self-employed involved in providing transport for the public. 

“We’re calling on them to review the licensing renewal processes for taxi drivers to help keep more of them on the roads and provide an extra incentive for drivers who’ve exited the industry to return – they provided a crucial part of the transport eco-system already and this strike action has shown how much they are truly needed.”

Nearly a quarter of drivers left the taxi industry during or after the pandemic due to stress, with a further 21 percent saying it wasn’t a financially viable career.

One in five were unable to renew their licenses and continue their careers or had their vehicle repossessed, affecting their credit rating and ability to return to the industry.

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