• One in four drivers have suffered a flat battery in the past year, but only 13 per cent were able to restart the car themselves.
  • 38 per cent of drivers carry jump leads and know how to use them, while 24 per cent would need professional assistance.
  • Old and tired batteries were the most common cause of flat batteries (38 per cent).
  • The majority of drivers (72 per cent) have never ‘trickle charged’ their car, despite the positive effect on the long-term health of a battery. 


One in four drivers (25 per cent) have experienced a flat battery in the last 12 months but only 13 per cent were able to jumpstart it themselves, according to new research1 from Green Flag, one of the UK’s leading breakdown providers.

36 per cent of all rescues Green Flag attended to last year were due to flat batteries, which are often caused by cars sat idle on the street or driveway for long periods of time.

Of the 2,000 drivers polled by Green Flag who had experienced a flat battery in the last year, 73 per cent realised the issue while parked at home or work. Old and tired batteries were the most common cause, in 38 per cent of cases, while one in ten were attributed to lights being left on after the driver had left the vehicle.

Despite the frequency of flat batteries, most drivers wouldn’t know how to jumpstart a car, with only 38 per cent keeping jump leads in the car and claiming to know how to use them. Most drivers would have to rely on the expertise of others, with a quarter (24 per cent) having called on a professional mechanic to restart their car.

The research also found that drivers don’t proactively protect themselves from flat batteries, with 72 per cent admitting they never trickle charge their car. Trickle charging involves using a low-voltage charge to prevent batteries from going flat and while the technique cannot restart cars it can improve the long-term health of batteries, especially in vehicles that are left unused for extended periods.

Katie Lomas, Managing Director of Green Flag, commented: “Flat batteries are one of the most common causes of breakdowns or cars not starting and one of the many reasons why it’s a good idea for drivers to have breakdown cover. While jump starting is the easiest way to re-start a vehicle with a flat battery, if you’ve never done it before it’s not always straightforward so we’d advise people to properly familiarise themselves with the process or get someone with experience to do it, so that it’s done correctly and safely. Drivers should also bear in mind that some manufacturers recommend that their cars aren’t jump started as it can damage the engine management system, so always check your car’s handbook before doing it.”

Green Flag is one of the leading breakdown providers, offering drivers 24/7 assistance from 3,000 expert technicians all over the UK. For more information visit greenflag.com or download the Green Flag app.

Drivers can find more information on how to jumpstart a car here


For further information please contact:

Simon Ansell

Green Flag PR Lead

[email protected]


Notes to editors:

1 Survey conducted for Green Flag by Opinium of 2,000 UK car owners - 4th - 9th May 2023

About Green Flag

With over 50 years' experience, Green Flag provides customers with breakdown cover 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Customers have access to a network of breakdown operators across the UK and mainland Europe (Euro Plus cover required). 

Green Flag is underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. 

Green Flag and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.  

Customers can find out more about Green Flag products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 1557, connecting via the Green Flag Rescue Me Application, or visiting www.greenflag.com