As road users and vehicle owners, we all know that vehicles should have number plates for safety reasons and compliance with laws and regulations. Vehicle number plates are alphanumeric plates to display a vehicle’s registration mark and are used to identify the vehicle. With how important number plates are, some laws and regulations must be followed on displaying the number plate on a vehicle.

A number plate should have specific dimensions, sizes, patterns, and colours that must be adhered to for significant reasons, such as making it more visible and readable to drivers and authorities. However, why are the number plates here in the UK yellow and white? If you’re one of the people who has ever wondered about this, this article will provide you with some fascinating details on the colours of the number plates that our automobiles carry on a daily basis.

Displaying Number Plates

The UK government requires number plates to be displayed on all vehicles and have specific rules specifying how they should be displayed. According to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the number plates on your vehicle must be made from a reflective material; the front plate should display black characters on a white background while the rear plate should display black characters on a yellow background.

All plates should not have any background pattern and should show the provider of the number plate. According to the regulations, the UK government makes it very clear that you may only display your number plate if it is made of reflective material and has a white background on the front and a yellow background on the rear. The government established this law, so breaking it can result in penalties and fines of up to £1000.

Why Are Number Plates in the UK White and Yellow?

The UK government imposed the requirement that number plates be white on the front and yellow on the rear primarily so that the letters and numbers could be quickly and easily identified. It’s always essential that number plates are clear to read in all kinds of weather — the most readable pairings are black text on a white background. Black and yellow are the second-easiest colours to read, so this pairing was chosen for the rear.

Additionally, the reflective plate material greatly benefits from the addition of white and yellow. The brain reacts more quickly to yellow than most other colours, and it gives the best contrast with black, making it very clear to people from behind the vehicle. The front plate should be white so that the visibility of the number plate will not be disrupted by the reflectors or continuous lights at the front of a vehicle.

Can You Add Colours to Your Number Plate?

Today’s UK number plates are required to be white and yellow with black alphanumeric letters. However, if you want to add some colours to your number plate, there are still methods to do so while adhering to the DVLA rules. You are not allowed to change the white and yellow background but you may add one of the UK’s national flags to your number plates to add some colour. For instance, you can use the colours white, blue, and red from the Union Jack, a red and white St. George cross, or a blue and white St. Andrew’s cross for Scotland. You can also add a red Welsh dragon standing on a green field.

According to the DVLA, you can display one of the following flags with identifying letters on the left side of your number plate:

  • Union flag (Union Jack)
  • Cross of St George
  • Cross of St Andrew (Saltire)
  • Red Dragon of Wales

Bottom Line

Many car owners ask if they can customise the colour of their number plate to complement the aesthetics of their valuable vehicle. However, there are essential reasons for the laws and regulations governing the display of number plates on all vehicles in the UK. It’s important to follow the laws, especially those pertaining to the colours of the number plate, to avoid penalties, cooperate with the authorities, and enhance road safety and security in the UK.