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Driving Test: The DOs and the DON’Ts

June 9, 2015

June 1st marked the 80th birthday of Britain’s driving test. It has changed a lot over the years – for example the ability to reverse park was only added to the criteria in 1991.

For many drivers the driving test has been the source of many memories – both happy and traumatic – over the last 80 years and it will continue to be just that for the hundreds of new drivers coming through every day.

To celebrate the Oak Anniversary of the DVLA’s driving test we asked our followers on Twitter and Facebook and our customers what their fondest (and darkest) memories were, what we got was a great list of DOs and DON’Ts that should be studies by all young, future drivers hoping to take their test soon.


- Do -

driving test tips

Get Confident

You know how to drive!

This is just one of those times where you know you are being watched and you have a lot riding on the next 40+ minutes of driving, so you are going to be nervous. Just remember all the preparation you have put in and let the pressure fall off your shoulders and you will get through your driving test no problem.

One young lady thought she failed her driving test in the first five minutes after narrowly avoiding a van. Thinking it was over she continued driving naturally, and it turned out she passed!

Getting confident and loose could mean the difference between a failed driving test and a successful driving test.


- Don’t -

don't get clever

Get Clever

You are always being watched, but you don’t need to overthink things. Stick to what you know, you have had enough time to learn from your instructor what is expected of you.

When asked to do a three-point turn in the road, Iain from Wales thought he found a loophole of sorts when he used a driveway to perform the manoeuvre. Obviously the examiner was not impressed.

Another gentleman, Daniel, recalls his first driving test when he noticed his assessor did not have his seatbelt on and thought he’d earn extra points by sternly requesting he do so. “We were still on the private ground of the test centre car park,” the examiner said. “I am not required to do so.” It was all downhill from there.

Your assessor is the one who decides whether you pass your driving test or not, don’t try to get one over them or you aren’t going to have a good day.


- Do -

do strike up a conversation

Strike Up a Conversion

Seeing as your driving test lives and dies at the whim of your examiner you may as well get them on your side. I know whether they like you or not shouldn’t affect your scores but we are all human so it will have some impact at least.

Sarah from Manchester got on with her assessor so well that at some point during the driving test she stopped being directed and was told to drive until she found somewhere to test her parking. 15 minutes later they were back at the test centre and Sarah was apologising for forgetting to find somewhere to park. “It’s okay, I’m sure you’re capable” said the examiner!

I’m not suggestion you become a teacher’s pet, but being friendly and getting off on the right foot with your examiner will go a lot way.


- Don’t -

dont radio

Turn the Radio On

There is such a thing as too confident and nothing says this more than a radio during a driving test!

Keeping in mind you are supposed to get on with your examiner, the last thing you want to do is to put the radio on. I know it can be awkward if there isn’t a conversation going, but blanking out your assessor isn’t the way to go.

Not to mention it could potentially be distracting and could even drown-out your examiner’s instructions. This will not help your final score.

That said, who knows, maybe you can bond over your taste in music? I wouldn’t risk it though.


- Do -

do expect the unexpected

Expect the Unexpected

Did you know in certain cities in America there is such a thing as an automatic pass in a driving test? You basically have to avoid or prevent an accident. It is basically a shortcut to telling your examiner that you are a safe driver, which is enough across the pond.

Unfortunately it isn’t enough over here – not that you should want to be anywhere near an accident on your driving test anyway – but it can be points in your favour.

Jordan, from Newcastle, was warned that there would be an emergency stop on a particular road. The examiner looked out the back window while on the road, likely checking if there was anything behind them, so Jordan waited for a signal. Suddenly, a child on a bicycle rode out in front of them. Jordan slammed down for an emergency stop, sending the examiner into the windscreen.

“Okay, you’ve passed,” said the examiner. “Please take me back to the test centre, my head hurts.”


- Don’t -

dont let your fears

Let Your Fears Get the Better of You

Fear combined with nerves is a horrendous combination, and it is what leads to more driving test failures than anything else.

Mark remembers stopping at a crossroads and outright refused to drive any further, purely out of fear of causing an accident. Anne from Berkshire even remembers asking her examiner to take the wheel at a roundabout. These are instant failures, and brought on by fear.

Some go even further. One girl, who has never passed her test, and swerved and bailed from the vehicle while it was still moving during a driving test. The reason? A wasp flew into the car. She says if she was ever in that situation again … she would react in exactly the same way.

Fear makes fools of us all.


- Do -

do prioritise


Just like how some people let their fears takeover you also find young drivers putting themselves in position to fail just by focusing on the wrong thing.

Gary from London bravely admits he failed his first driving test after checking his phone while driving, and his second after asking his examiner to take the wheel while he checked his phone. I guess you can count that as improving, sort of?

You’ve got to remember some things are more important than others. On a driving test a major fault has more weight than a minor, for example, so avoid majors at all cost even if it means a minor here or there.

Kathryn remembers putting herself in a similar situation on a driving test. She describes it much better than I ever could.

“I swerved to avoid an injured pigeon, and ended up in the path of an articulated lorry. At this point, I did the sensible thing and closed my eyes. My instructor took the wheel and deposited us in the roadside ditch. Upon opening my eyes, I discovered my instructor was nearly in tears. I failed.”



- Don’t -

dont forget your basics

Forget Your Basics

Once again, you can drive!

You should have logged at least 30 hours before you even thing of having your driving test, at which point, if you used the same instructor, you should the vehicle you take like the back of your hand.

Don’t be like Kerry who found herself rolling down the hill while attempting to parallel park, completely missing the fact that she had stalled the vehicle.

Don’t be like Simon who sabotaged himself by completely forgetting how to open the hood of the car during the show-me-tell-me portion of the test. You’re better than that!

You should have also passed your theory test with flying colours, so you shouldn’t have to be reminded that 40mph isn’t the national speed limit, like Freddy from London had to.


- Do -

do improvise


The harsh reality of driving tests is that you will make a mistake – you know it, I know it, and your examiner knows it. All drivers make mistakes, it isn’t an issue, you just need to convince the examiner that you can handle it safely.

Tim vividly remembers his first driving test when he was asked to take the next right, and he did – right into the forecourt of a garage.

“Erm … on second thought perhaps we don’t need petrol,” Tim stammered as he pulled up next to the pumps. He turned back out onto the main road and made the correct turn off as suggested by his assessor.

Tim is still haunted by the mistake 36 years after passing, but it his rather humorous recovery that likely saved him. You know the examiner knew he made the mistake, but he wasn’t going to fault him after he reacted accordingly.

You might find yourself in similar situations. Just remember, you can drive, and you can get yourself out of a situation with a bit of quick thinking.


- Don’t -

dont give up

Give Up

Last, but certainly not least, is this.

In 2014 only around 50% of tests were passed. This is counting people who took multiple tests. This means most people fail at least once, and a lot of people might take several tries.

You can react to this statistic one of two ways.

Either you can panic and let your fears get the better of you, meaning you get nervous, forget your basics and make your job a whole lot hard.

Or you can realise the pressure is off. You can have fun with your test and make it an enjoyable experience for you and your examiner. And if you fail, so what? It was a learning experience and you will be twice as good next time.

Keep persisting, keep trying, put the work in and you will see results.

Above all else, remember, you CAN drive!




5 Summer Drives We’re Looking Forward To

May 26, 2015
Posted in Cars,Interesting — Written by Nationla Numbers

5 – A1, Tyne and Wear

We might be a little biased, but we think the Angel of the North is a stunning sight, and it isn’t just about Northern pride. You ask anyone who has endured the tedium that is the A1 for any more than a couple of hours and they’ll tell you that Antony Gormley is a welcome piece of wonder.




The Angel of the North stands on a hill in Low Fell, overlooking extensive grassy fields on the fringe of old industry that the North East is historically aligned with. It serves as a reminder of the regions roots, but also its future. The foot of the Angel itself is a perfect pitstop with many families picnicking on warm summer days.


4 – Abergwesyn Pass, Wales

If you like detours and little villages the Welsh mountainous road will be the perfect road trip for you. The road connects many small villages around the Cambrian Mountains, so you have your pick of routes. Over the 18 mile stretch you will find lakes, hills, forests and rivers, all making for perfect summer scenery.




The Llyn Brianne reservoir is a perfect place to stop and enjoy the view. The market town of Tregaron is also ideal for a quiet getaway so a few good places to stay the night and enjoy some good food. Be careful driving away though, you might run into sheep or cattle enjoying the roads as well!


3 – Humber Bridge, North Lincolnshire & Yorkshire

You may be thinking that this is just a bridge but it is much more than that. The Humber Bridge was once upon a time the longest suspension bridge in the world (though it is now the 7th longest) and can be seen for miles around. Not only is it a spectacular feat of engineering it also provides a platform for the most spectacular view over the Humber.




Stop off at the viewing deck to take in the scenery. Many call it the perfect place to watch the sunset, for example. Once you have enjoyed the views and the drive you have your choice of locations, just continue down to motorway.


2 – A2, Portrush to Ballycastle, Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has become known for its scenery but it is hard to pick a better route than the A2 in general, particularly the 19 mile stretch between Portrush and Ballycastle. The route spans a good section of the coast opening up great opportunities to see the famous Giant’s Causeway. Beautiful greenery completes the drive as one of the best scenic routes in the country.




If you are looking for activity there is a lot to do and see. It is easy to catch a ferry to Rathlin Ireland to more supurb scenery, or you can travel on foot through the Causeway. Continue down to road to find old castles, seaside destinations, or my personal favourite, the Old Bushmills Distillery, Ireland’s oldest whiskey distillery.


1 – Bealach na Bà, Wester Ross

If you were to make an effort to drive along any road I would urge you to pick this one. Scotland has many excellent driving routes but few compares to this one. Take in the Scottish Highlands in the best way possible – through a series of twists and turns on this dramatic mountain road. Enjoy the sights overlooking Skye, the Islands of Rum and the Outer Hebrides, and take in the attractions from surrounding towns.




The name comes from Gaelic meaning “Pass of the Cattle”. The road was originally used to drive livestock. As you can guess it is certainly not a route for the faint hearted – I certainly wouldn’t want to attempt it in the snow. Don’t worry though as Applecross proves to be an excellent target destination, perfect for a quiet getaway.


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Endangered: How Many of These Classic Cars Are Left?

November 12, 2014
Posted in Cars — Written by Nationla Numbers

These are the rarest classic cars in the country. They have been sought after for a long time by many, and fantasised about by even more. For a motor enthusiast these simply are the dream cars to own … but time is running out! These cars came off the production line decades ago and now numbers are dwindling. It might not be long until some of them disappear completely. From the Imp to the DB1, these are the endangered vehicles that all car owners wish the could have and how many of them are left in the country.

rare classic cars how many of them are left

Britain’s rarest classic cars: An Infographic created by Nationla Numbers


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10 Things Every True Petrol Head Has to Deal With

September 11, 2014
Posted in Cars,Humour — Written by Nationla Numbers

1. When you come back to your baby and realise there’s a much nicer car parked next to it.


2. When you’ve ordered some new parts online and they still haven’t come within a month.


3. On that rare occasion you see a Bugatti drive past.


4. When you’re the designated driver and on the ride home someone throws up in your backseat.


5. When being in the passenger seat just gets too much.


6. When your insurance rises and you tell your insurance company where to stick it.


7. When your girlfriend asks you to fix something on her car.


8. And when you actually manage to fix the problem.


9. When someone tells you they drive a Fiat.


10. When you try and have a conversation with someone who’s really not interested in cars.


BONUS: When your car passes its MOT and you thought it didn’t have a chance in hell.


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In Response to the recent “Fraudulent” Number Plate Supplier case

June 7, 2014
Posted in Cars,Editorial,Media — Written by Nationla Numbers

We have recently reported on a number plate supplier in Stockport who has received a two-year suspended sentence due to the illegal supply of acrylic number plates. The man sold over 13,000 number plates over a two-year period and the illegality of the operation only came to light after a customer noticed an issue with the address the plates were sent from.

Despite the man declaring not guilty the court came down hard on him. He received a two-year jail sentence (suspended due to him being a single parent) plus community service, a driving ban and even a curfew. All for fraudulently selling number plates. But what does this mean?

You are probably aware of the legal requirements on the display of number plates. Letters have to be a certain size with an exact spacing between them. But did you know there are also legal requirements to even sell these number plates? Most don’t, and if you believe the man in Stockport neither did he.

The judge called him an “inefficient and lazy business man” who “chose to take a shortcut”, but the same time accepting that he had “no intention” of actually selling illegal number plates. But he was found guilty anyway. Ignorance is not a great defence by any means, but could it be that this 39-year-old set it up as a side business without actually knowing the legal requirements?

You’ve got to look at how the DVLA themselves regulate this. Since the 1st of January 2003, it was illegal to sell number plates unless you were on DVLA’s RNPS (Registered Number Plate Suppliers) list. Being on this list confirmed you were selling legal number plates in a legal fashion. Part of those requirements were:

  1. Record Keeping. All number plate suppliers must keep a record of the registrations they have issued and who they have been supplied to. These must be kept for a minimum of three years. Details must include the registration mark, the customer name, contact details and method of purchase.
  2. Customers must prove their identity. This can be via a photo card ID, bank statement, and utility bill or credit/debit card.
  3. Customers must prove their right to display the registration. This can be proven with a number of DVLA documents including a V5 logbook, V778 retention document, V750 certificate of entitlement, or letter of authorisation from DVLA/leading company/fleet supplier.

Of course, the companies are expected to supply legal plates only also.

The Stockport business man allegedly asked for no evidence from his customers, which is why they courts came down hard on me. Problem is there is a grey area here, as there are websites who knowingly sell “illegal” plates by specifying that they are in fact supplying “show plates”. My research has found no indication that there is anything wrong with this and in fact DVLA say so themselves.

question on dvla about show plates


dvla rep explains number plates

The key quote being:

The companies you have identified in your email all state that ‘show plates’ can only be displayed on vehicles ‘off road’ for shows, rallies etc and ultimately it is the responsibility of the person keeping or using a vehicle on the public road to ensure that the number plate displayed on their vehicle complies fully with the regulatory requirements.

Given that the offending company was “”, you would assume that he could be cleared from blame on this basis? They are clearly a show plate supplier rather than a legal number plate supplier going by the name of the website. However, as the website is no longer around I cannot say whether or not the website content itself made this clear.

I think the issue is there is too much of a grey area. If the DVLA are cracking down on show plates as well perhaps there should be clearer guides in place about who can supply what? In light of this I have to say a lot of the comments I have seen that damn Andrew Shaw might be judgemental of the situation. Clearly it is not a black and white case of a man wilfully doing something illegal to make money, there is some misunderstanding all the way around.

What do you think? Do you think the punishment fits the crime? Do you think the Stockport man got what he deserved or have the courts been unfair? Let us know in the comments below.


10 SHOCKING Facts About UK Drivers

May 13, 2014
Posted in Cars — Written by Nationla Numbers

A recent survey of 2,000 drivers in the UK as well as 29 police boroughs has revealed a culture of speeding in the UK.

Many drivers speed and show a happy-go-lucky attitude to penalty points according to the survey which was conducted by MORE TH>N car insurance. The survey also revealed a lack of understanding about certain road signs.

See below for the 10 SHOCKING facts.

1. One in three drivers don’t know a simple white circle with a black stripe signifies the national speed limit applies. One in seven drivers even think a ‘slippery road’ sign means ‘paint on the road’.


2. A fifth of all drivers have received penalty points in the past 10 years as a result of driving too fast. 13% of those accumulating nine points or more in this time.

3. 1,340,680 drivers received penalty points or were disqualified from driving in the past 12 months alone, while 818,768 drivers were penalised for speeding offences – the equivalent of 2,243 every day.

4. In a 30mph zone one in every three drivers (36%) admit they always drive over the speed limit. On average these drivers admit to doing 38mph.

5. In a 40mph zone 32 per cent of drivers admit they always drive over the speed limit. On average these drivers admit to doing 47mph.

6. In a 70mph zone 43 per cent of drivers admit they always drive over the speed limit. On average these drivers admit to doing 81mph.

7. More than a quarter of drivers confess they would much rather pick up points and a fine than attend a police speed awareness course. In contrast, speed awareness courses do appear to work with only five per cent of those who attend re-offending.

8. A typical motorist with a penchant for speeding will begin driving over the limit less than a car’s length after passing a camera, slowing only so they do not get caught.

9. One in four drivers has crashed their car or had a near miss as a result of speeding – a figure supported by official government data, showing there were 4,745 crashes caused by a driver exceeding the speed limit reported to the police in 2012 alone (13 every day).

10. The average car insurance premium increases by 13 per cent for a speeding offence.


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Perfect plate for a Porsche 993 – 993 RS

May 9, 2014
Posted in Auctions,Cars — Written by Nationla Numbers

This morning another excellent plate sold at the DVLA auction in Daventry. The 993 RS – likely bought for its namesake the Porsche 993 Carrera RS – sold for an impressive lb30,000 making it the highest priced number plate to be sold in this auction.

090514 Porsche 993 RS


Porsche 993 Carrera RS

The Carrera RS is a lightweight variation of the Carrera. Running on a 3.8 liter engine with 300hp, achieving 0-60 in 4.7 seconds.

The exterior is recognisable by special non-retractable rear wing, small front flaps and 3-piece 18-inch (460 mm) aluminium wheels. In the rear the seats were swapped for special racing seats.

The Carrera RS was in 1995 and 1996. While legal throughout Europe it was not approved for export in the United States.

The Porsche 993 Carrera RS is certainly a beautiful car. Used they sell for around lb80,000, so you can see why this number plate would attracted a lot of interested from high bidders.


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250 LM sells for lb20k! Here is why …

May 8, 2014
Posted in Cars — Written by Nationla Numbers

Today the number plate 250 LM was sold at the DVLA auction for lb20,000 in Daventry.

The registration started with a reserve of lb2,600 but quickly grew interest at nearly 10 times that amount.

If you’re wandering why than look no further than Ferrari. 250 LM (meaning Le Mans) was brought to market in France in 1963 as a successor to the 250 P. It is a racing vehical that has had a tonne of success with the North American Racing Team that won the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans, Ferrari’s last overall victory in the endurance race. Ferrari had plans to accredit it as a Group 3 Grand Touring Car but the FIA refused to to Ferrari producing less than 100 models.


32 models were made in 1964 and 1965. They were powered by 3.3L 320HP engines and came with fully independent double wishbone suspension, rack and pinion steering and four wheel disc brakes.

What do you think? Is 250 LM worth the money? Worthy of the car? Let us know in the comment section below.


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