15 fascinating facts about cars that you won’t forget 

Toy MiniTaking your driving test can be a daunting experience, and with a pass rate of just 47.2%, novice drivers have got every right to be nervous. Men are more likely to pass than women (50.06% compared with 44.1%) and if at first you don’t succeed; you can always try and try again.

However, figures from the DVLA show that some people really weren’t born to be behind the wheel as illustrated by a 30-year-old woman from Ilford who has taken the theory test 113 times and a 40-year-old man from Liverpool who failed his practical test 38 times before finally passing.

Government number crunchers have calculated there are 245,400 miles of road in Great Britain which could take you ten times around the circumference of the world.

Sticking with the DVLA stats department there are 30.5 million licensed cars on the road with Ford being the most popular (14%), followed by Vauxhall (12%), VW (9%), Peugeot (5%) and BMW (5%).

The Society of Motor Manufacturers keeps a close eye on car colours and you might be surprised to read that the nation’s favourite is colour is not technically a colour. It is in fact white and it’s been at the top spot for the past four years (last year more than half a million new car buyers chose white) followed by black and grey.

The number of petrol stations has dropped by 34% since the millennium and now there are just 8,459. Working out what’s driving the decline isn’t straightforward, but supermarket stations selling rock bottom fuel, and larger forecourts with more pumps, are partly to blame.

Banking is big business in Switzerland, and because speeding fines are based on the offender’s wealth, it’s hardly surprising that they have the most expensive fines on the planet. One millionaire found out the hard way when he was clocked driving a Ferrari 35mph over the residential limit and was fined an eye-watering £180,000.

Rowan Atkinson, the star of Blackadder and Mr Bean, has another claim to fame as the recipient of the biggest ever car insurance pay-out. Tabloid headline writers went to town describing the ‘million pound prang’ which saw the accident-prone actor write-off his McLaren F1 and escape with a broken shoulder. Insurers paid out £910,000 and it was rumoured that his premiums rocketed to £60,000 a year.

Everybody knows that traffic lights are designed to keep traffic flowing, but when the lights are stuck on red; it can feel like a lifetime. Research has revealed that the average Brit spends two days a year waiting for the lights to go green which adds-up to 99 days over a motoring lifetime.

The world’s first speeding ticket was issued to a boy racer named Walter Arnold way back in 1896. The tearaway was tearing-up the Kentish countryside travelling four times the legal limit of 2mph. A local bobby spotted the law breaker and took chase on his bicycle. After a slow motion five-mile chase Mr Arnold was booked and later fined a shilling.

If you haven’t read The Highway Code for a while it’s worth remembering that you can be fined £30.00 for sounding your horn while stationary.

There’s a reason why the Mini got its diminutive name; nevertheless it is possible to cram 27 bodies into a Classic model. Smaller still the Smart car presents another tiny challenge which was taken-up by an American cheerleading team who managed to shoehorn 20 people inside.

At the other end of the size spectrum sits the mighty Overburden Conveyor Bridge F60. It’s officially the world’s biggest vehicle weighing in at a massive 13,600 metric tons. The rest of the stats don’t disappoint with the mobile mining bridge measuring an impressive 502 meters in length by a more modest 240 meters in width. It’s been likened to a lying down Eiffel Tower and you wouldn’t want to get stuck behind it on a B Road.

If you’re planning a road trip to France be prepared to spend a lot of time driving around in circles. France is home to half of the world’s roundabouts with more than 30,000 at the last count.

Making up catchy car names is as much of an art as it is a science and Volkswagen have turned to the winds for inspiration. Many of their biggest sellers are named after winds including: Scirocco (a desert wind) Passat (from the German for ‘trade wind’) Vento (from the Italian for ‘wind’) Golf (from the Gulf Stream) and Jetta (from the Jet Stream).




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