10,000 New Year breakdowns expected
THOUSANDS of drivers are facing a false start to 2013 as thousands of cars that have gone unused over the festive period fail to start, experts have warned.
The RAC predicts more than 10,000 breakdowns on Wednesday January 2 - 40% more than any other day - as millions of motorists return to work.
Second cars are the most likely candidates due to lack of use over the holiday, making them more susceptible to battery failure.
The RAC saw a 60% rise in breakdowns during the return to work in January 2011, but dealt with 14,000 call-outs during the same period in snowy 2010.
RAC technical director David Bizley said: "The majority of breakdowns we attend on the return to work after the Christmas holidays are for vehicles that won't start. The combination of a long break where vehicles aren't used much, if at all, and cold damp weather is a recipe for battery trouble.
"A car's electrical system has to work a lot harder at this time of year as drivers are more likely to use their lights, heated windows as well as the heater fan. The starter motor also has to work harder to start the engine on these cold mornings, making a battery failure more likely."
The company is urging motorists to park their vehicles in garages whenever possible and to switch off any connected electrical appliances such as sat navs or iPods to protect and conserve battery life.
They also advise motorists to fill up with fuel a day or two before going back to work to avoid the queues at the pumps.