The Road to France – tips to handle traffic jams

Christmas and New Year are always busy travelling times for those making the pilgrimage to the slopes or to visit family and friends in France and beyond.  The heavy road traffic has not been helped by the stray drones creating havoc at Gatwick Airport.  If you’re thinking of returning to Blighty but are concerned about the daunting delays and queues faced by holidaymakers on the route then Buy Time PAs have been thinking ahead. Here are some of the suggestions we have provided our clients with on how to avoid and cope with traffic jams and delays on the road back to the UK over the next few days.


Where possible, plan an alternative route

Your Buy Time PA can call and cancel existing bookings and arrange travel for a quieter time.

Ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe

Newhaven is a 2 hr 20 min drive from London and crossings operated by DFDS Ferries depart:

Monday – Saturday: Three times each day at 9:00, 17:30, 23:00

Sunday: Twice each day at 12:30, 18:00


Ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg and Caen

Portsmouth is a 1 hr 50 min drive from London and crossings are operated by Brittany Ferries

Ferry to Cherbourg

Monday – Thursday: The Normandy Express departs once each day at 9:00

Friday – Sunday: Departures twice each day at 7:30, 15:15

Ferry to Caen

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday: departures three times a day at 8:15, 14:45, 22:45

Wednesday: Twice per day at 8:15, 22:00


Euro Tunnel Le Shuttle from Folkestone to Calais

Departing four times per day from Folkestone, a 2 hour drive from London


For updates on traffic delays, ferry delays and more check Twitter

Or have your Buy Time PA do this for you. We recommend:






Prepare the car for delays

Stop when you can to make sure your tank is full – crawling at low speed with your engine idle drains fuel reserves putting you at greater risk of missing your ferry.

Fill the car with plenty of water and snacks – make sure these are accessible without having to access the boot and avoid sugary foods and drinks.

Take plenty of entertainment for the kids – Backseat Bingo, License Plate Acronyms and Motorway Snooker are some of our favourite traffic jam games!


When you can’t avoid traffic

Turn of the engine when stopped for a minute of more – this will save you fuel, as will turning off air conditioning wherever possible.

Give yourself plenty of space in a jam – if the vehicle in front breaks down, a car’s length between you will make it easier and safer for you to drive around it if needed.

If, in an emergency, you do have to get out of your car – keep a close rein on young children as there may be motorbikes or emergency vehicles moving through stationary traffic or along the hard shoulder.

And finally, learn a few words of French! Use a free mobile app and get the whole family involved!


Other options…

If you would rather avoid crossing the channel this winter, your Buy Time PA can provide recommendations for last minute deals and create a whole new congestion-free itinerary to suit you, your family and budget. Get in touch on 0207 292 0566 or




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