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Don’t Let a Flat Car Battery Put You at Risk This Winter

For many of us, it's the second Monday back at work after the festive break, having survived the one last week - known as 'Flat Battery Monday' - when car breakdown services usually experience their highest callout rates of the year. 

The first day back after the Christmas holidays is always a busy one for services like the AA and RAC who experience up to a 17 per cent increase in workload as they are called out to help thousands of drivers whose car batteries have died.

So, why does the winter season pose such a problem for car batteries?

Flat Batteries and Winter Conditions

When cars have been left unused in cold or damp conditions for a long time, sometimes up to two weeks during over Christmas, the power output of the battery drops.

As well as the starter motor having to work much harder to get a car going on a cold winter’s morning, a car’s electrical system is under more pressure too as drivers use their heaters, lights and heated windows.

Drivers then find that their car either doesn’t start – or that it just about starts then breaks down early on in the journey. This is because, drops in cold temperatures, a car battery’s ability to accept a charge drops, meaning it doesn’t charge as quickly when driving. A car that breaks down unexpectedly on the road is a potential hazard to you in the event that another vehicle does not identify the break down and collides with your car. It also presents a potential hazard for other road users negotiating around it.

With this in mind, here are a few tips to keep your battery in good condition this winter:

  • Check everything is switched off at the end of your journey – and also disconnect any portable devices that can drain the battery if left connected.
  • Invest in a battery charger if you regularly leave your car standing for days on end or mostly do short journeys.
  • Get your battery tested if it has been struggling to start. Many garages offer winter checks at a reasonable price, or sometimes free of charge.

Further information can be found on breakdown service websites, such as the AA and the RAC.

Winter conditions can cause problems for all road users if drivers are not prepared or pay attention to safety advice. For further information on avoiding accidents this winter, see our previous blog: Helpful Tips to Avoid Accidents Driving in Snow and Ice

Jane Cooper is a principal lawyer at Slater and Gordon UK, specialising in road traffic accident compensation claims.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers are a leading personal injury law firm with offices across England, Scotland and Wales. We have many years of experience in helping people who have been injured in a road collision and guiding them to brighter outcomes and offer a free consultation to anyone injured through no fault of their own.

Call us on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.

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