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Drivers slam on Christmas brakes

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There will be fewer cars on the roads over the festive period as people dig in for this year`s credit-crunch Christmas, according to an AA poll.

Two thirds said they will be staying at home, half hope to spend less than an hour travelling - and only 10% will spend more than four hours in the car.

The busiest day for driving is likely to be Monday December 22, while the quietest will be Christmas Day, when 85% say they will not be travelling far.

The busiest areas are likely to be London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Birmingham National Exhibition Centre area, Bristol, Milton Keynes, Nottingham and Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Busiest routes will be the M1 and A1 northbound, M6, M6 Toll, A74M and M74 to Scotland, M23 to Gatwick airport and M11 to Stansted Airport, and the M42 and M5 southbound towards Wales and western England.

AA patrolman of the year Andy Taylor said: "Despite fewer numbers expected to hit the roads over Christmas, winter weather can still prove hazardous.

"Punctures increase over the winter months when the roads are wet, as water and grime lubricate foreign objects making it easier for them to penetrate the tyres. Ensure that you pack essentials for an emergency."

© Press Association 2008