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Flat car battery? Here’s what to do if it dies and how to prevent it from happening


Car batteryGETTY

Flat car battery: What to do to prevent it and what to do if it goes flat

Drivers have been warned about the increased likelihood of a flat car battery over the Christmas period. 

The winter months can also be a period where motorists are more at risk, due to how the weather affects the roads. 

1.56 million private car drivers have suffered at least one accident in the last five years due to winter road conditions, with motorists forking out an average of £1,362 in damages per incident, according to new research from Met Office.

Winter conditions annually are expected to cause around 312,382 accidents with an estimated cost of £425 million. 

The UK has been hit with snow over the weekend and more bad weather is expected over the next few weeks, which makes road conditions increasingly trickier. 

Met Office Meteorologist Aidan McGivern comments: “Cold air from the Arctic has now been drawn south in the wake of Storm Caroline, bringing the first real taste of winter. 

“On Friday, many parts of the country can expect to see snow showers, with temperatures by day only a few degrees above freezing. 

“At night it’ll be frosty with lows generally around minus 5 in the countryside and as low as minus 10 over snow covered mountains. 

“We are also expecting snow to affect many of Wales and central England on Sunday, so with National Severe Weather Warnings in force drivers in particular will need to regularly check the forecast so they can be prepared.”

It is not just the dangers of driving in these adverse road conditions but also the lack of inactivity over the Christmas period, which could lead to a flat car battery. 

James Knight, director of roadside operations at the RAC explains: “Typically the busiest day for breakdowns is the first day back to work after the festive period so this year calls will peak on Tuesday 2nd January when we anticipate there will be around 11,300 breakdowns. 

“This is because many people have not driven their vehicles over the Christmas period and so their batteries have not had the chance to charge-up and older, tired batteries will struggle in the icy conditions to start their vehicle.


Typically the busiest day for breakdowns is the first day back to work after the festive period

James Knight, director of roadside operations at the RAC


“We advise drivers to take their cars out for a ten or fifteen minute journey on the day before they return to work just to charge the battery.

“It would be wise to invest another ten minutes in some simple checks to ensure your oil, coolant and screen wash are all topped up, your lights and wipers are all working and your tyres are at the correct pressure and have a good depth of tread. 

“This will be time well spent and could save you from the inconvenience and frustration of a New Year breakdown.” 

According to the RAC drivers are failing to make basic on their cars which could help avoid a breakdown or an accident. 

Flat car batteryGETTY

Flat car batteries can occur after periods of inactivity

To help drivers keep safe over throughout the year but particularly during winter, the Met Office deploys dedicated meteorologists based at Highways England, Transport Scotland and the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland. 

The advice they give enables transport agencies to take the appropriate action, from clearing snow to gritting the roads, to help keep motorists moving safely.

Highways England’s customer service director, Melanie Clarke, said: “We work closely with our colleagues at the Met Office to ensure we have accurate real-time weather information over the winter months.

“From gritting teams to our dedicated traffic officer patrol service, we will be doing all in our power to clear incidents and keep people moving this Christmas. 

“We’re also keeping 99 per cent of the road network we manage free from roadworks from 22 December to help people get to their destinations with as little disruption as possible.”

Here’s what to do if your battery goes flat:

-If your battery hasn’t complete discharged you may be able tor charge it using a car battery charger that plugs into the mains. 

-If your battery has fully run out you may have to jump start it using jump leads and another vehicle. 

-Even if you do restart the car after it had a flat battery it may run out again, which is one reason you may want to get a new on in future. 

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How to avoid a flat battery

-Try and keep the battery charged by doing a number of journeys over the Christmas period ranging in distance. According to Auto Express, batteries are subjected to peak strain when driving a high number of short journeys as they are not giving enough time to recharge the battery.

-Depress the clutch while starting your engine as their can help take the strain off the car. 

-Make sure you switch your headlights off overnight, as these can easily drain the battery. 

-Servicing your car regularly can help identify things on the car that could be putting extra strain on the battery. 



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