The annual Christmas exodus is well underway on the roads this evening.
With thousands of people making their way home for the festive period, authorities are urging drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to take care.
Well we are delighted it's not going to be a White Christmas but it's Top To Toe In Tailbacks out there. http://t.co/gWm3zaDM— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) December 21, 2012
It's also the shortest and darkest day of the year - making pedestrians and cyclists particularly vulnerable.
Mr. Noel Brett CEO, RSA had this message for road users: “The roads will be very busy for the next few days, especially with many people planning to drive home to spend Christmas with family.
“I would appeal to all drivers to drive safely this Christmas by slowing down, not driving while under the influence of drink, drugs or fatigue and to always wearing a seatbelt. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists also need to take special care when out and about. With fewer hours of daylight, wear something reflective.
“Be safe by being seen!”
Mr. Brett added: “While this may be a time for celebration for most people, tragically there are 158 families who will be sitting down to Christmas dinner this year, who will be grieving the loss of a loved one as a result of a fatal crash in 2012.
“Let’s ensure that no more families in this country suffer and that this Christmas is a safe one for all.”
“If you are going out for a drink over the Christmas break, leave the keys at home; get a taxi, minibus, public transport or take turns to designate a driver. And don’t forget that time is the only way to get alcohol out of your system, so don’t assume you are safe to drive the morning after a night out.”
He also asked drivers to “Watch out for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, and expect the unexpected. You simply do not know what is waiting around the next corner”.