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Drivers planning on taking a trip this weekend are being warned that it will be the busiest summer getaway in the last eight years, with an estimated 18.8million leisure trips planned in the UK.

With the school summer holidays starting this week, Britons are expected to jump in their cars en masse to enjoy the sunshine – despite the soaring cost of petrol.

What’s more, the extreme heat that has caused so much disruption and discomfort over the past few days is expected to ease by the end of the week.

The M25 could see some of the worst jams as holidaymakers take to the roads in droves, along with problems on the A303 near Stonehenge, the M4 between Cardiff and Newport in south Wales, and the M5 south of Bristol, according to transport analytics company Inrix.

Read more: Motorists hit by record monthly hike in petrol prices

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “The extreme heat that’s affecting much of the UK in the last few days might wane over the next few days, but we still expect the summer getaway to begin with a bang as a potentially record-breaking number of drivers take to the roads this coming weekend – and that’s despite the unbelievably high cost of fuel.

“With school terms in England and Wales finishing this week and millions of people ready for a well-earned break, we anticipate a frantic Friday followed by a woeful weekend on major roads across the country, with traffic and congestion likely peaking on Saturday.

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“The advice to drivers heading off on a holiday by car is therefore clear – leave as early as you can in the morning or expect to be sat in some lengthy queues.”

The research is based on a survey of 1,700 UK motorists.

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