HIGHWAYS chiefs are bracing themselves for Christmas chaos as the big festive getaway gets under way.

Motorists have been warned that the busiest day for travelling on Hampshire roads is today.

And traffic bosses confirmed that drivers should expect delays on both the M27 and the M3

An AA spokesperson said: “Fifty-five per cent of road users on Friday will be using their car for a journey involving main roads or motorways.

“A lot of people will be heading to see their family this weekend.

“The M3 and M27 will be affected by this rush, and they are always pretty busy anyway.

“If you are one of the people travelling this weekend, then ensure you have provisions as that could be the difference.”

Cllr Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport at Hampshire County Council said: “We expect main transport routes in Hampshire will be busier than usual this weekend, as people start the Christmas getaway, therefore travellers should allow extra time for journeys and check travel updates and information on websites and local radio traffic bulletins.”“Hampshire’s highways teams are on 24 hour standby, seven days a week, throughout the winter to ensure the roads are kept clear and passable, whatever the weather.“We have emergency crews to clear surface water and fallen trees after storms, and our winter crews constantly monitor road surface temperatures and conditions to ensure Hampshire’s main roads are salted ahead of ice forming.”

A Highways England spokesperson said: “Narrow lanes on the M27 will remain in place where we are preparing for a smart motorway upgrade, but we have no closures planned anywhere in the area.

“We expect the Christmas getaway to be spread out between this Friday and Christmas Eve on Monday.

“Whenever you plan to travel, we recommend a quick check of the latest traffic and weather conditions before setting off.”

Highways England have advised motorists to stick to main roads in snowy and icy conditions, remembering to have a winter kit including an ice scraper, de-icer, warm clothes, blankets and sunglasses.

Drivers are advised to slow down and avoid using exposed sections of road in high winds.

In fog, road users should use their fog lights, and if they still can’t see they should consider stopping.

Southampton Airport also confirmed this weekend will be a busy time for them.

A Southampton Airport spokesperson said: “It’s going to be quite a busy weekend from Friday to Sunday.

“We’re expecting to have about 20,000 people flying in and out. We’re also expecting another 6,000 on Christmas Eve. On an average Friday to Sunday, we expect approximately 12,000 people in and out.”