Since 1903 it has been a legal requirement for motor vehicles in the UK to be fitted with number plates. The initial response to the 1903 Act was far from favourable but these vehicle identifiers have now become not only acceptable but, in the case of certain “cherished” numbers, highly desirable with some of the most sought-after changing hands for tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds. Some people question just why the concept of “personal plates” is so popular and there is no single answer. For some it is a simple matter of one-upmanship whereas others may not wish to display their vehicle’s age but for many it is simply a matter of good fun.
For most private number plate hunters the initial thoughts are likely to be just that … initials! For many years people have chosen to adorn their vehicles with their own initials along with a preferably low or distinctive number and, although such numbers are often offered for sale, a potential purchaser must be prepared to pay a substantial sum in most cases. One of the main problems is that many of us share the same initials meaning that demand greatly outstrips supply. However there is no reason why we cannot adopt a middle name to match the numbers available and who is to know whether your middle name is actually Xavier? Nicknames are also very popular and most people can find something appropriate.
The early registration marks, pre-1963/4, gave no indication of the vehicle’s age and so these are always popular especially when the letter/number combination also has some relevance to its owner but those who simply wish to hide the vehicle’s age may wish to consider buying one of the widely available numbers from Northern Ireland which are not only dateless but can also have interesting letter combinations.
Match the Car
Many car brands are simply known by initials such as MG, TVR etc. and many more are popularly known by shortened names such as Jag, Pug etc. Specific models are almost invariably given letter/number names such as M3, A4 etc. so it is often possible to match the number to the car. Some true petrol-heads may prefer to identify their power-plants as V8, V6, etc.
Jobs and Hobbies
Rather than matching the plate to their name, many people prefer to have something relative to their field of work or interests such as the uses of the digits 999 for those in the emergency services, K9 for dogs, or letters to indicate a profession. Motorsport enthusiasts may be tempted by the good range of F1 plates currently available and darts fans may find the number 180 to be of relevance.
Best Private number plates
Substituting Numbers and Letters
One of the most fun aspects of choosing a registration number is in looking at the different ways that characters can be read. The exact style of the characters and the method in which they can displayed is of course determined by law but it is easy to see that some numbers can easily be read as letters spelling out a word. As an example, B16 or B19 becomes BIG. There are countless variations but some of the most common are as follows:
1=I, 12=R, 13=B, 15=IS, 2=Z, 3=E, 4=A, 5=S,6=G(B or C), 7=Y(T or F), 8=B, 9=G, 0=O.
Using Slang Shorthand
Most of use are familiar with text talk which we used primarily for sending text messages via push-button mobile phones. Of course most people have now moved on to smartphones with full QWERTY displays making messaging much simpler and allowing for proper grammar and spelling but old habits die hard and in this case technology has simply produced a whole generation of unparalleled illiteracy but, on the bright side, such slang can produce some GR8 ideas when looking for a number plate!
Fit for Two
The current style of number plate is often criticised for being unsuitable when trying to match it to a set of initials as it has two sets of letters. The answer is absurdly obvious and is to match it to two people.
So everyone is sure to be able to find a private number plate relevant to them and these days it is a simple matter to either buy a new number directly from DVLC or to check out some of the numbers offered for sale by specialist dealers. With literally millions of numbers on offer, many sites provide a simple search facility whereby a few digits can be entered in a box to check availability. The whole process can be fun but is rather addictive! Potential buyers with plenty of spare cash may be interested to know the prices paid for some of the very best private numbers. The top ten are as follows:
(1)25 O £518K
(6)VIP 1 £285K
(7)51 NGH £254K
(8)1 RH £247K
(9)K1 NGS £231K
Thankfully not all private numbers fetch such eye-watering prices and there are still many bargains to be found but, if it proves impossible to find the number to match the name, there is always the alternative of keeping the number you have and changing your name to match it!
Vans are becoming more and more popular across the UK, with statistics by the government revealing that the number in operation increased by 3.2 per cent between June 2014 and June 2015 alone. This figure makes vans the UK’s fastest growing vehicle type during that period.
Ever wondered just who the typical man and woman who drive vans are though? The UK’s largest used commercial vehicle retailer Van Monster has attempted to find out by putting the question to van drivers themselves.
The results of the light-hearted survey can be found in the infographic below. Split into various age groups and genders, the visual reveals:
- How satisfied drivers are with their commercial vehicle.
- Whether they make use of their van other than for work purposes.
- What they tend to listen to when behind the wheel of their van.
- The average weekly spend of topping up their commercial vehicle’s fuel tank.
- Which manufacturer they tend to choose their van from.
Find out all these details plus much more by viewing the graphic in full…
We awoke this morning to the news that Britain had voted in favour of leaving the EU and following that came a tidal wave of uncertain members of the public calling for answers to the question: what now for car leasing and the automotive industry?
With all of the turmoil surrounding the event it seems the facts of what will happen next have been clouded and are even uncertain while the nation recovers. In the calm of the aftermath we have looked into how Brexit might affect the British car industry and the predictions industry officials have made for the future.
Who is saying what?
Before the referendum took place reports were mixed about the future of the UK car industry, some claiming it would fail due to international manufacturers moving their plants out of the country, and others saying we’d have access to the global market which could increase our sales range and ultimately our profits.
Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has reacted to the result of the referendum, he said, “The British public has chosen a new future out of Europe. Government must now maintain economic stability and secure a deal with the EU which safeguards UK automotive interests.”
Previously, Mike Hawes had warned against us leaving the EU, claiming that, “We want this success to continue rather than jeopardise [the UK automotive industry] by increasing costs, making our trading relationships uncertain and creating new barriers to our single biggest and most important market, Europe. Remaining will allow the UK to retain the influence on which the unique and successful UK automotive sector depends.”
However, Mike said before that that “UK Automotive is globally competitive, securing record levels of investment…and exporting to over 100 countries,” which begs the question of why we need to retain EU custom at all costs if we can export to other international countries.
The SMMT conducted an internal survey of its members to find out whether they believe remaining in the EU would be best for their business. It was revealed that 77% believed that remaining in the EU would be best for business, with 14% undecided and 9% voting that leaving the EU would be best for business.
Obviously these figures are irrelevant to the current situation, but it does raise some questions about what safe-guards have been put in place so that Britain doesn’t lose a valuable sector of its custom.
What might it affect?
As Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mini, Nissan and Toyota all have factories in the UK providing over 800,000 jobs, it is critical that these companies don’t choose to leave Britain, as not only could it cause a ripple effect with other industries, but also it could leave us with fewer business options in the future, as well as a huge number of skilled workers unemployed.
Gerry Keaney, Chief Executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, said “The British public has chosen a future out of the EU, and like most businesses, the fleet industry will need time to assess the ramifications of the referendum result.”
She also went on to say that, “for its part, the association will be working closely with UK and European policymakers to ensure that the exit process has a minimal impact on members and their customers. We remain confident that BVRLA members will adapt – after all, our sector is very experienced in dealing with challenge and change”. It seems then that industry leaders have different approaches to our new reality.
Other aspects of the industry that could be affected by UK exit from the EU are fuel prices and car insurance, namely, fuel is likely to go up and down along with the current instability and weakening of the pound against the dollar and car insurance policies further in the future may not cover driving your car in Europe. But, these things are pure speculation at this time and are merely aspects of Brexit to consider.
It would be extremely hasty to assume that anything good or bad has already come from the results of voting yesterday and the subsequent result of the referendum. Crucially, we as a nation must pull together in order to move forward and become strong independently, and that means doing our own research, forming our own opinions and not relying upon a handful of media bodies or public figures to scare or bully us.
Remember, we’re called Great Britain for a reason, so let’s live up to our name and make the most of the opportunity we have to build a solid future for generations to come.
Morning breath tests are catching out late-night revellers as, according to government departmental figures, approaching 6,000 people are stopped by the police and fail breathalyser tests in the UK each year – not, however, because of getting into their cars straight from a night out to go back home, but the morning after while still feeling the effects of their alcohol consumption from the night before.
Almost 750 drink driving-related road incidents occurred in 2013, so it seems that a lot of drivers, while taking great care to not drink and drive on their night out, are far less attentive or concerned when it comes to driving the next day.
These kinds of figures are surprising since Britain has come a long way in changing its attitudes to driving under the influence; a tough stance on drink driving law and a succession of sophisticated government campaigns have done wonders to bring about a cultural shift that has drink driving frowned upon throughout the country, and that has seen a huge fall in the number of alcohol-related road accidents over the last few decades.
In 1979, drink driving-related fatalities totalled 1,640. By 1989, that figure had dropped to 810, then 10 years later in 1999, there were a reported 460 deaths associated with drink driving. Recent years have seen those numbers drop even further, with an average of around 230 deaths each year.
This level of improvement in road safety is a far cry from many other countries, who have entirely failed to stem the tide of drink driving incidents – for example in the US, where, despite drink drive-related fatalities having halved since 1980, there are still in the region of 10,000 drink driving road deaths per year – an alarming statistic, indeed.
However, even among countries who have succeeded in making significant strides towards improved drink driving levels, Britain’s problem with hungover driving is still far from unique. Take Australia, where the Transport Accident Commission has identified Saturday mornings until 8am and Sunday mornings until 10am as “high alcohol times”.
Australia has seen a huge decline in drink driving incidents over the last two decades; close to 130 drivers/riders were killed while over the limit in 1987 compared with just over 40 in 2012. Yet it is noteworthy that still today one in four drivers/riders killed on Australia’s roads die with alcohol levels that register a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05g/100ml. That’s above the current BAC limit in Scotland (also 0.05g/100ml), but lower than the 0.08g/100ml limit in England and Wales.
The reason behind the UK’s continuing issues with morning drink driving could be a case of people not caring, but that would be inconsistent with attitudes generally, so it seems more likely that people are not properly aware of the dangers of driving while still worse for wear. For example, research has shown that a third of UK drivers don’t know that only four pints or big glasses of wine in a single evening could cause you to be over the limit come the morning.
This is because on average the human body takes around an hour to process one unit of alcohol. A pint or large wine each can have around three units, so multiply that by handful of drinks, and suddenly your body could need a lot more than just a few hours to reach safe driving and legal driving levels.
With police continually looking to crack down on drink driving, and with England and Wales considering bringing down limits in the near future so that they are in line with Scotland’s breath alcohol and BAC limits, there is every reason for motorists to start taking greater care and ensure that, if they have been drinking the night before, they seek alternative methods of transport the morning after
Summer may still be a way off, but this doesn’t mean you can’t start planning your holidays! Going abroad might not be for everyone though, as it can get pretty time-consuming and pricey. That’s why driving holidays are a great idea. You can simply get in your car and go, whether it’s for a 2 week driving trip or a weekend getaway. Check out some of our favourite driving destinations from around the UK.
Not only is Cornwall a gorgeous place to visit with plenty going on (such as theatres, gardens and museums), but the beaches are fantastic too. If you do happen to stop by any beaches, make sure you take a quick visit to Watergate Bay and Sennen Cove, as they’re two great spots to park up and go for a bit of surfing!
The Lake District
Looking for a great drive with fantastic views? The Lake District definitely won’t disappoint. With wonderful driving routes and some of the best scenery and visitor attractions in the country, the District offers great days out for the entire family. Routes are 30-50 miles in length, so they can be driven in just a few hours. With plenty of exciting stops on the way, you and the family won’t get bored!
Located in the Scottish Highlands, north of Argyll, Glen Coe was recently made famous as one of the main settings for the James Bond ‘Skyfall’ movie. With volcanic origins and breath-taking views, plenty of people now want to drive around where the Bond movie was filmed, to take in some of the extraordinary scenes and landscapes on offer to tourists.
Finding a drive-in movie or theatre near you is a great opportunity to go for a drive and have some fun one weekend. Drive-in movies work by parking up with other cars in front of a large projection screen. Some of them even serve snacks and have picnic tables or other forms of entertainment. Overall, they’re a great chance to catch the latest film release, cult classic or Shakespeare play.
Want to get out of the country without spending tonnes of cash for a plane ticket? The best way to do this is either by driving to Dover and hopping on a ferry, or by getting aboard the Eurostar. Not only will you get a fun drive down to the coast, but once you’re across the channel, you have the option of driving around some beautiful locations such as Brussels, Lille, Marseille and Paris.
And if you’re looking for a perfect car to take you away on your next driving trip, then you could always lease a car before the holiday season. Zero deposit car leasing is also available, so you can save cash and put it towards your next holiday!