ONE of Hampshire's major roads is likely to be one of the most congested in the country this Easter.

That's according to navigation firm Trafficmaster, who say the westbound A303 in the county is set to attract a huge number of families eager to make a getaway over the break.

Nationawide, as many as 16 million cars could be on the road over the Easter weekend, according to the firm and the AA.

With mild, dry weather forecast, the number of motorists getting behind the wheel is likely to be far higher than last year when Easter was cold and snowy.

An AA/Populus survey of nearly 24,000 AA members revealed around 55 per cent could drive at Easter with those from Northern Ireland the most likely to get the car out.

Least likely to take to the road are the Scots, with those spending Easter away from home likely to drive an average of 148 miles.

This figure increases to 160 miles for those aged 18-24, with visiting family or friends the most common activity, particularly for those in London and south east England.

Trafficmaster said traffic was expected to pick up from this Friday afternoon with many people taking next week as holiday.

The most-congested routes are likley to be the A303 west-bound through Hampshire, Wiltshire and Somerset, the M5 heading west, the M6 through the West Midlands, the M6 north-bound through Lancashire and all sections of the M25.

AA patrolman of the year Tony Rich said: ''While mild weather has thankfully replaced the snow and ice of last Easter, it doesn't mean drivers should be any less prepared.

''It's going to be busy at times on the roads so do the essential checks on your car before heading off and break up any journey more than three hours long.''