/ Motoring

Will superstition stop you buying a new car this year?

A road sign pointing the way to bad luck

We’re just a few weeks away from the introduction of the new registration plate, but there’s been mutterings of consumers side-stepping new car showrooms in the next six months to avoid the number 13.

Next month the latest registration number will be adorning new motors across the country. However, there has been quite a bit of scepticism about the introduction of the number 13 plate that signifies the first half of 2013 as the year of registration.

With the historical unlucky stigma of this number, there have been suggestions many will avoid buying a new car until September, when the 63 plate emerges.

The AA polled 20,000 members last year about the subject, and found that one in 10 people would not buy a car with the 13 number plate, and a third believing a car with 13 in the number plate would be more difficult to sell on.

We’re a superstitious nation

I was intrigued, so I did a quick search to find any information to back-up why Brits might avoid the 13-plate due. I stumbled across a UK survey by the University of Hertfordshire, carried out in 2003.

While this is old research, the results are clear – of the 2,068 people surveyed, about four in five said they were at least a little superstitious and/or carried out some form of superstitious behaviour, with four in 10 saying they were very/somewhat superstitious.

However, avoiding the number 13 was only the sixth most common act of superstition carried out by the British public, with a quarter of people saying they actively do this. Topping the charts was touching wood (three quarters said they do this) and crossing fingers (almost two thirds).

Triskaidekaphobia: a phobia for over a century

And as well as discovering we’re a rather superstitious nation, I’ve also learned while writing this piece that the fear of the number 13 is a specifically recognised phobia.

Triskaidekaphobia was first coined in 1911 and refers to those who attempt to keep away from anything labelled with the number to avoid bad luck. It’s also a colossal mouthful, and one I challenge you to pronounce on a Saturday evening while explaining this to friends in the local pub.

Personally, having ’13’ on my number plate makes absolutely no difference to me. But then I wouldn’t group myself with the majority of folk who say they are even a little superstitious. So is the plate really enough to stop you buying a new car in the next six months?

Are you superstitious about the number 13?

No (79%, 145 Votes)

Yes (21%, 39 Votes)

Total Voters: 187

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Comments
Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

I think touching wood and crossing fingers is not superstition – just a light-hearted mannerism. Walking under a ladder can be hazardous, so superstition is really common sense. What happens when children reach the age 13 – has research proved they are at greater risk? Why do we allow 2013 – could have missed it off the calendar just in case.
If you do get 13 in your numberplate – e.g. AL 13 ERT – then sell it for a lot of money – that’s lucky 13.
Call me a sceptic, but I view research that identifies 80% of us as a little superstitious as very dubious – or looking at a very broad interpretation of supertition. I would view genuine superstition as a serious belief in something bad happening if…. I would not regard crossing fingers or touching wood in the same category.
Incidentally, I ordered a bathroom ceiling light which was delivered today. It was 4 tungsten halogen cubes mounted on a square mirror-glass back plate. Guess what! Yes – so a new one is being sent. OMG! This may be my last post. Or the postman’s – luckily I didn’t break it.

Member
Jim Kenney says:
28 February 2013

What happens when children become 13? Errrmm… they become teenagers; hormones, spots, moods, grunts, sulks, weird clothes and weirder music, hoodies, ASBOs, affected harlem street slang, and Justin Beiber. Maybe you hit the nail on the head? innit.
You just convinced me to put off buying a car until 2014

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Getting involved in this sort of ‘research’ is not going to help the ranking of the University of Hertfordshire.

I’m very disappointed. If I had kept my 10 year old car another 8 months or so, I might have been able to grab a bargain on a 13-plate car. 🙁

I don’t have superstitions and when I was a child I made a point of walking under ladders to annoy adults, as long as no one was standing on them.

Member

People buy new cars and accessories they don’t need for all sorts of irrational reasons.

– An open top two-seater will make me appear more attractive, sexy and affluent.

– A specially-tuned engine will let me accelerate away from the lights and be first to exceed the speed limit.

– With a large 4×4 I don’t need to worry about getting stuck in muddy London roads.

– Ridiculously wide rims, low profile tyres and windows I can’t see through, will make people think I’m a top division footballer.

So it should come as no surprise at all that some people WON’T be buying a car in 2013 for similarly stupid reasons.

Profile photo of abueloeddie
Member

The main reasons that I won’t be buying a new car this year are as follows….

1) Can’t afford one

2) Don’t need one

3) Am too busy wondering why a so called Consumer Association is wasting time and our subs. money by conducting an investigation into such an irrelevant and trivial subject.

Profile photo of abueloeddie
Member

The main reasons that I won’t be buying a new car this year are as follows….

1) Can’t afford one

2) Don’t need one

3) Am too busy wondering why a so called Consumer Association is wasting time and our subs. money by conducting an investigation into such an irrelevant and trivial subject.

Why can’t I edit my first comment ? It was badly written and I neededt alter it but it stays and the edit has come up as a 2nd and now 3rd comment…. Like most things about CA, this ‘Conversations’ is a waste of time! We’re effectively talking to ourselves

Profile photo of Figgerty
Member

I’m looking for a 62 reg car at the moment and am surprised at the few available, at the right price I wonder if people are buying them instead of new cars because they are superstitious. Maybe I should keep my fingers crossed that my old banger passes the MOT at the end of the month so I can buy a 13 reg around the turn of the year.