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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!




3 Other Ways To Sell Your Number Plates

March 18, 2015
Posted in Customers — Written by Nationla Numbers

One of the most frequent queries we get is a customer asking how to go about selling their number plate. In most cases it is pretty straight forward as Nationla Numbers will advertise for you for free – in fact most of the number plates for sale on our website are put on with private individuals.

The problem is that advertising with Nationla Numbers means entering in a competitive market. You would have to name a price and list it for sale, usually against hundreds of other similar registrations. This is not handy if you need to sell the number plate quickly – maybe you’re about to scrap the vehicle or the retention is about to run out?

Nationla Numbers are here to help guide you in the sale of your number plate. There are a few ways to go about it and lots of useful tools to make the whole ordeal stress free.


number plates for sale

Method #1: Advertise Your Number Plates Everywhere

Customers who buy registrations on our website come to us, not the private seller. In doing so they are obviously playing slightly more to cover a commission for ourselves. Cutting out the middle man might make the difference, as the registration can then be bought for less.

Of course, it would mean you, and you alone, as the seller are responsible for the transfer and you do not get the protection or guidance as you would from Nationla Numbers. You can easily consult DVLA for advice though. (See DVLA Guide)

Take advantage of the huge number of sales websites out there such as:

  1. eBay
  2. Gumtree
  3. Preloved
  4. Friday-Ad
  5. Loot

There is likely tonnes more as well. Online classifieds and auctions are hugely popular ways of selling goods these days.

The key is to advertise in as many places as possible to increase visibility. Just remember to take any listings down if you sell it somewhere else – the last thing you want is to have more than one person to buy it from you.


number plates for sale

Method #2: Contact Potential Buyers Directly

If you have a number plate that you know would be suitable for certain people – maybe it is suitable for a specific car, profession, or maybe even a celebrity – you can put some leg work into making sure they know it is for same.

Many customers aren’t looking for private number plates specifically because the market is too crowded. If the right plate presents itself they would likely be interested, and that is where you come in.

This does require some of your own research of course, but it has never been easier to make contact. We have sold plates to companies just be calling them, and celebrities just by messaging them on Twitter, you can do the same.

If your number plate refers to a specific car the internet can be a great tool. Various owners clubs have internet forums you can post on to make people aware of the number plate and hopefully spark some interest.

Auto Crowd Group is a great website that groups together all the owners clubs you can imagine into one website, allowing you to see the full shooting match. Use it to join the relevant car clubs and take it from there. You might even make some new friends along the way.


number plates for sale

Method #3: Check If Dealers Will Buy It from You

For a lot of people this is usually the first port of call. It is common when having a number plate valued that customers ask if we would be it from them, and unfortunately the answer is usually “No”.

It is not anything personal, but Nationla Numbers and other dealers only tend to buy number plates that meet certain requirements. For example, we only tend to buy number plates that are rare, short, or dateless.

If you want a cash offer from dealers you have to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does my plate meet the requirements mentioned earlier?
  2. Is there nothing else similar on the market right now?
  3. Will I be willing to take a lot less than the market value?

If you answered “Yes” to all these you might be within a change.

Nationla Numbers will only tend to buy number plates that we either know someone is after or we know there are not many like it, and only if we can get it at a fraction of the price.


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Selling your private number plate …

January 27, 2014

For the 30 odd years Nationla Numbers has been operating there is always a handful of questions that just never change. In this case it is a big one, and one with many answers:

How can I sell my private number plate?

If you own a private number plate it has probably crossed your mind that it is worth selling. Number plates do tend to increase in value over time, so chances are if you were to sell your private number plate now you will get more back than you originally paid for it. It depends on the market and the buyer of course, but still worth the try.

First thing’s first, can you actually sell it? To transfer a private number plate it either needs to be on a vehicle that is taxed and tested or on a valid retention certificate. Alternatively it can be on a SORN vehicle, but only if it has been that way for less than 12 months. If it is on a vehicle you also need to check that it is not listed as “none-transferable”, as you would not be able to do it in that case either.

A private number plate of a scrapped car cannot be sold

No car, no private number plate. Dems the rules.

Next, you need to think about the price. As easy as this question should be, in practise it can actually be quite hard to answer. If you are selling a private number plate you might fall into the trap of over-thinking things. It really is simple though: how much do you want for the number plate? A private number plate is only worth what someone thinks it is worth at the end of the day, and while I agree you don’t want to under or over value your private number plate it is by far the easiest way to go about it.

If you do need help though the next best thing is to get the private number plate valued. Most private number plate dealers, some of which ever offer the service free-of-charge, can do this. Alternatively you can get a written valuation from the CNDA (Cherished Number Dealers Association), but this does cost money. Getting a valuation for someone who knows the industry is preferable to simply asking for offers – which more often than not attracts low-ball offers – or comparing your private number plate to those already listed.

Remember that at this stage you are only naming an asking price for your private number plate. It is not always the case that number plates will sell at this price. Much like when you sell a house, for example, people will see listed price as more of a guide and make an offer based on that. Some of these offers could be low, but that is why you must consider what YOU want. Sentimental value is worth something.

Don’t expect this. This doesn’t happen.

Once you have decided on a price you can introduce your registration to the private number plate market. The most popular way of doing this is by contacting the aforementioned private number plate dealers and advertising it with them. For the vast majority this costs nothing as they earn a commission by selling your number plate. Dealers also have a client base to market do, so the majority of the work is passed directly to them.

There are alternative ways of advertising your private number plate as well. A lot of people use eBay, Gumtree and other private merchant sites, and while this does mean in theory you are cutting out a middle man it also means you are not protected and you have to do everything yourself. Certain newspapers, such as the Sunday Times, also have a section for number plates you can sell from, but if you open up a copy you can see this is populated by a lot of private number plate dealers anyway and your advert will be tiny in comparison. Considering you would have to pay for the privilege as well? It might not be worth it.

Once it is advertised the last step is waiting for the sale. This is both the easiest and the hardest step in many regards because it can be absolutely torture waiting for the sale on your private number plate. My best advice would be to be patient and roll with the punches. You will likely receive some offers, but don’t be pressured, simply be honest with yourself and decide whether or not the amount on the table is right for you.


By . Daniel is a journalist and marketing executive who has been with Nationla Numbers since 2012. As well as movies, Daniel’s other passion is the private number plate industry. In between writing about the constant changes, Dan can be found on the phone alongside the dedicated sales team trying to help customers find their perfect number plate.

What is the cost of a private number plate?

January 21, 2014

To most people a private number plate might conjure up a few images. Some may think of it as a status symbol, others as a bit of showbiz jazz. To some it reminds them of the celebrity lifestyle while others think of it as a fashion statement. No matter what though, you can’t really mention a private number plate without talking about the money.

Some of the most powerful people in the country drive around with a private number plate on their vehicle, so it is natural that they come with this stigma of being really expensive. Truth is the cost of a private number plate can go anything from a hundred pounds upwards. Of course, ‘upwards’ is as high as several million, so the stigma is mostly justified!

How much does a private number plate cost?

A private number plate doesn’t have to cost you your first-born though, and it honestly depends on several factors. Where is the private number plate coming from? WHO is it coming from? How long has it been on the market? How much interest has it had? Is there another private number plate like it? You’ve got to consider all of these when you go looking for one. Essentially, it is the same principle of any “supply and demand” system.

Private number plate, F 1

Private number plate, F 1, is amongst the most valuable around

A private number plate of high demand and low supply is going to increase in value over time, where as if there is a lot of similar number plates around you would be able to pick one up for a lot less. The best example of this would be a private number plate from Northern Ireland. There is an absolute tonne of these around and the most common of them are very cheap. I’ve seen some for as little as lb99, for example.

Why so cheap, you ask? A lot of these common Northern Irish plates are “cover plates” – these are number plates that are issued by the Government and cost the owner literally nothing. When someone sells their current reg mark as a private number plate they receive a brand new yet similar one in return. Rinse and repeat. This is why there are hundreds on the private number plate market.

In stark contrast, a private number plate in short supply will cost more. A variety of number plates, known as “cherished”, are practically antiques due how old they are, and their prices reflect this. Others are so costly simply because to many it is a dream private number plate. An example of the latter would be something like BA12 RYS, which clearly reads BARRY’S and with very few like this available it is probably the best number for someone called ‘Barry’, which can be seen in the price.

But, how much does it cost to OWN a private number plate?

So far I’ve been focused on how much a private number plate costs to buy, but there is another question that not many people know the answer to: how much does it cost to actually own a private number plate? Surprisingly, the answer is: Not much.

A private number plate is not really its own thing – it is a facade. When it is registered to a vehicle it belongs to that vehicle, not the person who bought it, as some understand. This means there are no annual fees to pay as long as the private number plate is on the vehicle. Of course, if a tax or MOT is needed that has to be paid for, but the number plate itself has no fees.

Costs will be incurred by taking a number plate off a vehicle though. When not registered to a vehicle a private number plate is held on a retention certificate, which costs lb105 to do. Certificates though have a time limit though, and to extend this expiry you do need to pay an annual fee. This is usually lb25 per year, plus an admin fee if a third party supplied the private number plate to you.

As you can see, the cost of upkeep is quite reasonable and not much at all. In fact, the cost of keeping a private number plate is nothing if you use as intended: straight onto a vehicle. But even if not the costs are the same across the board and apply to everyone, so even if you pay out for a really good number plate the expense is not going to come back to bite you later on. At least, not as far as the private number plate is concerned – we cannot promise your partner won’t bite you!


By . Daniel is a journalist and marketing executive who has been with Nationla Numbers since 2012. As well as movies, Daniel’s other passion is private number plates. In between writing about them and raising awareness of the issues surrounding the industry he can be found on the phone lines along with the dedicated Nationla Numbers sales team helping customers find their perfect number plate.

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Customer Stories: 1 RT

December 6, 2013
Posted in Cars,Customers,Interesting — Written by Nationla Numbers

Nationla Numbers is proud to introduce to the number plate market a premium-quality cherished registration – 1 RT.

The registration has been with the same owner since it was originally released via the DVLA in 1996. The mark was put to a private number plate auction, ran at the time by Brooks, which later became Bonhams.

The owner, a local chap, still to this day has the original catalogue that was issued for the same auction.

“I’ll have that”

1 RT’s owner recalls the moment he decided to buy the registration.

Sitting in his study in Singapore while having a laugh and a drink with some friends, the number plate was pointed out to him. It immediately caught his eye due to ‘RT’ being is his initials.

More to the point though, the registration was a lucrative Number 1. These were rare, even for the mid-1990s, but more so it was going quite cheap, especially because the initials tend to be very popular.

“That is a good price,” he thought, “I’ll have that.”



As a number plate dealer we are used to hearing stories of people buying registrations as investments. The idea being that a number plate would increase in value over the years and earn their owners a pretty penny in the future. The patient ones are normally the most successful.

Having bought the registration nearly 20 years ago, the owner of 1 RT has been very patient indeed, but that is not the reason he bought it.

Upon asking him if he understood the investment potential of private number plates and their resale value, he simply replied:

“I didn’t think about it … I bought it because I liked it.”

It is refreshing to hear this candid attitude from people like the owner of 1 RT. The number plate industry has a reputation for its investment potential, many amateurs over the years have been tempted to give it a go, so it is nice to see them bought for their original purpose.


Over the years …

For someone to have owned a registration like this for as long as he has, you can bet the 1 RT would have seen a number of great cars over the years.

Originally the owner sported the reg mark on a Bentley Turbo 95 before moving it over to his BMW M5. Currently, the registration sits on a 2001 BMW 330i, where it will hopefully stay until sold.

The owner himself has had interest in several other number plates over the years; some he has secured while others have slipped through his fingers. He recalls RJT 1, a number plate that sold through a DVLA auction. Unable to attend he gave a friend lb10,000 and sent him to bid on his behalf. Unfortunately the registration went for lb11,000, which he would have gone to had he been at the auction.

“I was a bit pissed off”, the 1 RT owner said.

“I don’t know why he couldn’t put his hands in his pockets to help me out.”

Butter-Fly on the Wall

September 11, 2012
Posted in Customers — Written by Nationla Numbers

At Nationla Numbers we pride ourselves as being part of the surrounding community. We enjoy nothing more than helping out our neighbours, especially when they pop in for a visit.

But did he compare with other number plates?

But did he compare with other number plates?

Yesterday we had a visit from a lovely gentleman named Gareth Welsh. The name may not ring a bell but if you grew up locally around the Cleveland area you will have probably heard about his business: Butterfly World.

Butterfly World is an exotic place creating a tropical environment for rare and endangered species of butterfly, a subject that Gareth is very passionate about. Butterfly World also houses different breeds of lizard, snakes, spiders and insects, and also has some very popular Meerkats on display.

As many of us here at Nationla Numbers have been to Butterfly World as a child or as a parent we enjoyed having Gareth in the office.

“I’ve always wanted a private number plate,” says Gareth. “It just popped into my head one morning so I went ahead and started looking.”

Gareth soon found his future number plate, BW02 FLY, on our website and later dropped into the office to speak to Lenny, a member of our sales team, to put the order through.

“I wanted BUTTERFLY obviously but I couldn’t find anything like that so I thought ‘BW’ for ‘Butterfly World’ would be good and ‘FLY’ on the end as well.”

We are now waiting for the DVLA to process everything and sent out Gareth’s new number plate that will go on his Jaguar X-type in the next couple of weeks.

If like Gareth you’ve always wanted a private registration or you just want something to help promote your local business just give us a call, we have a friendly team of staff ready and waiting to guide you towards your perfect registration.

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