7 Things You Should Not Do With your Number Plates
While personalised number plates are a lot of fun, it’s important to remember that car registration is also a serious matter. When you drive a vehicle weighing several tonnes at high speed, it can kill people, so it’s no surprise that the authorities need to make sure that every car has a proper license plate. In this guide, we’re going to go through all the things that you need to know about number plates - and that you should avoid doing. Fail to understand your obligations, and you could end up in serious hot water!
1. Don’t lose them!
If you lose your number plates, there could be trouble ahead. It’s worth checking your car before every journey just to make sure they haven’t fallen off, as police can issue you with a fine if they catch you on the road without one or both of your plates. But also, be aware that there have been incidents of criminals stealing plates from vehicles to use on other stolen cars. If you suspect this has happened to you - always call the police.
2. Don’t add screws to change the look
The law requires a pretty strict format for number plates, and if you mess around with this format you could end up in trouble. For example, you should not put added screws or bolts on them to change the look of a letter. If you do go down this particular route, you could end up with a nasty surprise - in the form of a police fine.
3. Don’t add flags
Your number plate may have a flag on it from the country of your origin. For example, a number plate in the UK might sport a Union Jack, while one in Scotland displays the Scottish Soltaire. However, don’t see this as a sign to add a little flair to your plates. If you decide to stick the badge of your favourite football team, for example, then you will get a fine if you are spotted by a police officer - or even tracked by a camera.
4. Don’t swap them
A lot of people are under the wrong impression that number plate colours are an aesthetic choice. They aren’t at all. If your plate was issued at any time since 1973, it must be reflex-reflective, but also white at the front or yellow at the back. Again, if you decide to swap them around, you will eventually get stopped - and probably fined.
5. Don’t move them
It’s not enough to just display your number plates on your vehicle. You also have to put them in the right place. Once again, you could be fined up to £1,000 for, say, putting your number in the windows of your car rather than where it should be. According to the law, your number plate should be fixed in an area on the vehicle - not inside it. There’s a simple reason why - those pesky cameras may not be able to read your number when the plate is obscured by the sun reflecting on your window.
6. Don’t use a plate without registering it
Don’t assume that if you buy a new set of personalised plates you can just mount them on your car and drive. The simple truth is that you can’t put a different a plate on the vehicle that's not registered to it, so make sure you do that before driving the vehicle on public roads. It’s inadvisable to test your luck, here, either, given there are so many cameras in operation around the country, which are able to run automatic checks on your plates.
7. Don’t forget to clean it
Keep your private number plates clean and visible as otherwise, you'll get a fine. This particular ‘Don’t’ catches a lot of people out, but the simple fact of the matter is that your plates have to be able to be seen at all times. Even the slightest amount of mud could obscure a number or letter or two, and that is all it will take to get a nasty fine. So, the next time you take your wheels out for a spin in the countryside, check your plates before and after you drive, and always keep your car nice and clean in general. There’s a good chance a muddy road or two could end up with you getting angered by a fine.
OK, so there you have it - a few things you must not do with your number plates. As you can see there are some strict rules in place that you need to comply with - and a huge fine that not many people can afford if you don’t. Be safe and save money out there, folks!