The AA is bracing itself for one of its busiest days for car breakdowns.
The firm predicts that Monday, January 5 – the day many people return to work after the festive break – will see call-outs spiral.
Engineers are expecting to attend 19,000 stricken vehicles, 30% more than usual, and extra patrols will be on duty.
A survey of 16,000 AA members found that families will leave at least one car standing throughout the Christmas and New Year holiday.
And, with freezing temperatures over several days, ailing car batteries could be finished off, meaning cars won’t start.
Mark Spowage, AA patrol of the year, said: “The first working day back in January is traditionally the busiest day of the year for breakdowns with flat batteries the main culprit.
“The issue is that many cars get left unused for up to a fortnight in often cold conditions, which causes the power output of the battery to drop.
“If your car has been left sitting idle or done mostly short, stop-start journeys, ideally trickle charge the battery or, if weather conditions permit, take it out before Monday for at least half an hour to boost the battery.”
Mr Spowage added: “When starting, it helps to switch off all the electrics and dip the clutch but, if it doesn’t fire up initially, use the starter in short five-second bursts, leaving 30 seconds between attempts to allow the battery to recover.
“If your car has been struggling to start, get the battery tested, as they only have an effective life of around five years.”
The AA-Populus survey also found that one in five people in Yorkshire planned to drive more than 20 miles on New Year’s Eve and 16% a similar distance on New Year’s Day.
Traffic could be heavier than normal on Sunday afternoon as people head home for the start of the new school year.