RACQ warns motorists to expect major delays on the Bruce Highway as thousands hit the road to meet their Christmas Day deadlines.
RACQ warns motorists to expect major delays on the Bruce Highway as thousands hit the road to meet their Christmas Day deadlines. File

The Bruce Highway nightmare before Christmas

A CRASH, a few "rubberneckers" plus a police car is the combination threatening to more than double Jeff Lowrie's Christmas-Day commute.

With thousands on the road eager to meet their Christmas breakfast, lunch or dinner deadlines, the RACQ warned of worst-than-ever congestion on Tuesday between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.

Spokeswoman Lucinda Ross said Department of Transport data showed it could take up to 12 minutes longer than usual in the Caboolture to Caloundra section, with the peak period between 10am and 1pm.

Southbound travellers are warned of a 10-minute delay between 10.30am and 11.30am, with no reprieve in either direction come Boxing Day.

Northbound motorists could spend an extra 18 minutes behind the wheel on Wednesday, and those returning to Brisbane after the break should prepare for an extra 15 minutes travel.

"Of course, this all goes out the window if there's a crash and we know how quickly traffic grinds to a halt, so it's best to pack your patience and allow extra travel time," Ms Ross said.

Mr Lowrie fell victim to this in recent years when an accident shut down the highway and blew his one-hour drive out to two-and-a-half.

"You only need a police car or broken down car and people slow down and look," he said.

"With the roadworks near Steve Irwin Way, that's going to make it worse for sure."

With plans to drive home Christmas night, Mr Lowrie faces at least two hours on the road if he's lucky enough to hit a smooth run.

Any longer, and he will lose precious moments with his Sunshine Coast-based brothers and extended family.

Mr Lowrie and his mother will leave about 8am, as will his children and partners travelling in separate cars.

He said in the countless times he had made the journey, people were always in a rush.

But with more cars on the road Christmas Day he wished everyone a safe drive with no accidents.

On Friday, about 4800 vehicles travelled the Bruce Hwy each hour between 10am and 5pm as families left Brisbane.