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