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Best route for nervous driver and passenger: East Anglia to North Devon

(8 Posts)
ImagoLuna Tue 12-Jun-18 16:09:33

Hi everyone, DD and I are visiting relatives around the UK this summer and will be travelling from the North to East Anglia - a route I've done before - but then from East Anglia to North Devon. I last drove from London to Devon about 35 years ago. Since then, I haven't done much driving in that area at all. DD is a very nervous passenger, following a car accident a few years ago and I'm not great with motorways.

Our car will be packed full /heavy load and I tend to crawl at 60mph. I'm not sure which is the safest route to the south west - either M4/M5 (sounds like it's fast and a bit scary?) or the M3/303 - which is more scenic but slower and might be less safe if there are impatient drivers en route.

Is anyone familiar with this route in high summer? Which route would you recommend for me. Safety takes precedence above speed.

OP’s posts: |
Egg Tue 12-Jun-18 16:18:43

I’m quite happy on the M3 and even the big scary M25 is ok but for some reason I hate driving on the A303. Not sure why. It is often very slow but it’s when it’s not slow that I find it daunting, as a driver or a passenger. I think I’m irrational though.

Egg Tue 12-Jun-18 16:19:23

The 303 is very very slow at busy times though, so is probably your preferred route in high summer.

scopello Tue 12-Jun-18 17:29:02

We did this journey on Good Friday and got up early, leaving at 7am. We went via the M4/M5 because the A303 was already suffering delayes/accidents whilst we were going around the M25 according to the satnav! We reached Exeter before noon where we stopped for lunch before continuing to south devon.

ImagoLuna Tue 12-Jun-18 20:18:48

So it sounds as if I should do the M4/M5? It's really difficult to know which would be the most scary and where we'd encounter the most accidents and dangerous drivers.

Egg, what is it about the A303 that puts you off? Is it predictably very slow compared to the M4/M5?

OP’s posts: |
somersetsinger Tue 12-Jun-18 22:45:46

A good rule of thumb is that A roads are a more difficult drive than motorways, so over a long distance and on unfamiliar roads, the motorway will be the less stressful of the two. I know both of your routes and would agree that the motorway route, avoiding the A303 will be preferable.

On the A303, you've got a changing number of lanes, shorter slip roads and more twisty, turny and hilly bits and that can be disconcerting. There is a greater range of traffic speeds but fewer lanes, so it requires more concentration and is therefore more tiring to drive. The motorways have bigger, clearer signs, wider lanes and the M4 sort of empties after Reading, so you have a nice open road with lots of space between cars. Plus you can plan to stop at various service stations to get a good break.

marmiteloversunite Tue 12-Jun-18 22:54:49

A303 is not nice. As others have said it is winding, has changing lanes, people overtaking in silly places and a lack of service stations as most have closed down. I would do M4,M5 which will be busy but that will mean it is slower. Lots of places to stop and have a break too.

SaylesAway Fri 15-Jun-18 14:59:00

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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