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Triskaidekaphobics  beware!

The DVLA has confirmed that every new vehicle sold from March 1 2013 will automatically carry a ‘13’ plate, meaning that superstitious motorists will have to live with a ’13’ on their number plate if they want a new car next March – or pay for a personal registration to replace it according to CAP, the used car pricing experts.

All this despite rumours that drivers could choose to retain the ‘62’ plate.

CAP’s Martin Ward said: “Believe it or not the trade has been rife with talk about this issue recently but it seems the rumours that superstitious drivers will be allowed to opt out of ‘unlucky 13’ on their car was based more on hope than fact – as our contacts at the DVLA have confirmed.

“While it is easy to poke fun at common superstitions it is a fact that many people really are nervous about many of them and will go out of their way to avoid walking under ladders or insist on throwing salt over their shoulder if they spill some. Even if the driver isn’t bothered what numbers are on their car, some superstitious family members might object.”

And the only way out may be to get a personalised plate costing upwards of £250!

The impact of Triskaidekaphobia – fear of the number 13 – on new car sales with a 13 plate and their depreciation can only be guessed at as there is no real hard data on the number of truly superstitious people and how seriously they really take the issue is merely a matter of conjecture.

Martin Ward added: “It’s not often we say this at CAP but we have no idea whether the used values of 13 plate cars will be affected or not, although it does seem unlikely.

“Suffice to say the prospect of a nervous 13 plate driver seeing a lone Magpie through the windscreen on Friday 13th doesn’t bear thinking about and our best advice is to make sure you don’t drive a March 2013 car under any ladders.”

Or run over any black cats, break any mirrors, put new shoes on a table, open an umbrella indoors, pass someone on the stairs, drive on the cracks in the pavement…….

But what is Triskaidekaphobia all about? Is it just connected to a fear of Friday 13th (or paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia as it is called)

Many people believe that it is to do with the number of people sat at The Last Supper in the Bible, with Judas sat in seat 13 – but the seats weren’t numbered and The Bible gives no order to the place settings.

Some believe that it comes from Viking folklore where Loki – the ‘evil’ god was the 13th guest at the funeral of Balder, who he allegedly had killed. This belief translated into a French superstition that if 13 people were at a dinner, one of them would die later that year.

And of course it was very unlucky for the victims of Jason in the American film franchise “Friday 13th.”

But then in Italy and Tibet, 13 is a lucky number; so expect a lot of monks driving away with new cars next March.