Coloured Strips on Number Plates
Outside of the characters, you can read a number plate via the vertical strips on the left side of the number plate, or ‘flashes’. These can mean different things depending on their colour:
What does a blue strip on a number plate mean?
Before Britain left the European Union, cars often had a blue flash down the left side of the plate – a strip of colour usually filled with the EU logo with the letters ‘GB’ underneath.
This showed that the car was registered with the EU. Since Brexit, these are now no longer available on newer cars, but still perfectly legal.
Why do electric cars have green number plates?
Electric cars have green number plates as part of a new initiative for zero-emission cars, allowing authorities to easily identify cars that are electric.
These aren’t compulsory, but they can help with cheaper parking, exemptions from clean air zone taxes, and can even offer the use of specific driving lanes.
What to Look Out for When Reading a Number Plate
Now you’re armed with more information on number plate characters, you should be able to spot a few key things.
For example, letters Z, Q and I should not be used in an area code. If they are positioned on a number plate, the plate is either invalid or from another country. There are, of course, private registration plates too. If a driver has used a different font, spaced letters differently or altered the characters in any way, this is illegal.
Next time you’re out and about, put your newfound number plate reading skills to the test. You can assess this when you’re viewing new cars too!
Thinking of leasing a car? Contact us and speak to an experienced member of our sales team to discuss your options, or visit our Young Driver Leasing resource hub for more helpful advice.