Is it a good idea to have a custom license plate? Well, our fondness for vanity tags as a society is immeasurable. While there is some debate on the subject of whether or not a vanity tag is a good idea, there’s no doubt that customizing your license plate creates an unparalleled level of personalization to your vehicle. So, why do we value cars, and car culture, so much?
A Little Bit of Car Culture
In America, the road trip holds a fond place in our hearts and culture. The country is so big, and thanks to our highway system, the advent of car culture in the last century and a quarter made the idea of car ownership, the family holiday, and the coming-of-age young adult road trip (see: Spring Break!) a hallmark of our culture.
The State of Florida itself is the third largest state, and across the nation our wonderful state gains recognition for some of the most exciting car modifications, wealthiest rides, important collector shows, and venerable auctions throughout the United States. On top of that, it makes us more likely to experience the road trip within our long and destination-heavy state. Key West, Miami, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, St. Augustine, Jacksonville (see: Nascar), and more destinations are within a day’s journey.
There can be no doubt that one of the best moments on the road is spotting that bizarre custom license plate and attempting to decode it. Everyone gets a great laugh when a creative plate is in view - especially one that applauds its own vehicle or makes a joke of a jalopy.
Benefits and Drawbacks
A license plate that you choose yourself can gain you social commentary and make your vehicle more memorable. It’s a fun tool and exciting way to express your personality through your vehicle. Follow the tried-and-true politeness tactics (thanks, Emily Post!) and avoid politics and religion, and you should be good to go.
Some theorize that a custom license plate could be a liability due to the fact that it could make a car recognizable to police as much as to the average citizen. This isn’t just a hindrance - if an officer gets a good laugh at your vehicle’s expense, it could earn you some points the next time you get caught speeding! The fact is, most police vehicles are outfitted with dash cams, so there is literally no forgetting your license plate if you’re caught doing something wrong. Better to obey the law, because vanity plate or no, you’re going to get caught!
Deciphering Custom License Plates
Check out this list (via Infiniti of Scottsdale) and see if you can recognize the meaning of each of these license plate names. The answers are written at the bottom of the blog, so you can test your new custom license plate translation skills below.
- YOT YM
- DON H1
One of the tricks to creating and reading custom license plates is to understand the limitations, and therefore the opportunities, present in developing a vanity tag. Some of the common tricks are misspellings, internet speak, use of common (or not so common) abbreviations, and use of phonetic pronunciation of letters to substitute and simplify words. For instance, the letter C can be used a “see”, or a K can be used to substitute for a hard C (as in Catch/Katch). Since English is a language with often confusing pronunciations, it is often easier to create the sound of a word than to use the actual spelling.
Another common method is to use numbers instead of words. The number 4 is commonly used as a quick substitution of “for”, and 8 often replaces the sound “ate” that is found in many words.
A final quick trick can be to take out most of the vowels in a word you want to use. While “accelerate” will never fit on a custom license plate, if you remove the vowels and use the tricks above, you could easily make a fun, car-oriented vanity plate: AKCLR8 or AKSLR8. In this case, you can easily take out the unnecessary vowels to create a condensed and create (cre8?) a memorable shorthand.
Want to try it again?
- YOT YM
- DON H1
Custom License Plates, Deciphered:
- Zipping by
- "My Toy" in reverse
- Live before you die
- That's what she said
- I hate my ex
- Don Juan
- Easy for you to envy
- Why be normal
Would you like to get a custom license plate? Contact Auto Tags of Florida for quick, same-day turnaround on a sweet new vanity tag to accent your ride.