Most Important Road and Driving Acronyms you Need to Know

It feels like every time anyone enters a new profession or learns a skill they have to memorise a whole vocabulary to go with it. Learning to drive isn’t any different. New drivers might feel overwhelmed by the terminology as well as all the traffic laws and everything they need to know about how to operate a car, so we’ve put together a list of all of the most crucial driving acronyms and initialisms to help you feel like an expert. So what are the most common driving acronyms you might come across? What does ULEV stand for ? What is PHEV? There are so many these days, but lets explore some of the most used road and driving acronyms. 👍

1) ABS: Anti-Lock Braking System

Older cars have a complicated system for braking, so ABSs are usually found on modern vehicles. It just means that to stop, you have to push down on the brake. 

2) ACC: Adaptive Cruise Control

This is another feature only found in modern cars. ACC allows the car to automatically monitor its speed and adjust if there’s another vehicle close by. 

3) ADI: Approved Driving Instructor

Sure, you can learn to drive with a parent or friend with enough experience, but the best teacher is someone qualified. ADIs have received special training and can help you learn to drive and pass your test.

4) AEB: Autonomous Emergency Braking

If your car is likely to crash into another, just ahead, the AEB will step in and stop your car. Do check if the vehicle you’re driving has this feature!

5) AWD: All Wheel Drive

Sometimes called a 4x4, an All Wheel Drive means that the vehicle’s engine powers all of the wheels. Most cars only have their back wheels powered. All Wheel Drives are less fuel efficient and therefore have a bigger carbon footprint, but they’re often more stable and powerful so they’re useful in extreme climates.

6) BEV: Battery Electric Vehicle

This is a vehicle that is powered by a rechargeable battery instead of petrol or diesel. 

7) BLIS: Blind Spot Indication System

When you’re learning to drive, you realise that you need 360 degree vision… but you don’t have it. BLIS allows you to discover obstacles you might otherwise miss, usually through sensors on the wing mirrors or bumpers. This is usually communicated through beeping or possibly with the use of a small screen to alert you to the location of the object. Again you are only likely to find this on newer models.

8) CAZ: Clean Air Zone

Clean air zones operate in some UK cities, including Manchester and Birmingham. If your vehicle is deemed to be too polluting, you have to pay to drive there. It’s worth paying attention to this if you’re looking into buying a car. Click here if you want to learn more about Clean Air Zones.

9) CGZ: Congestion Charge Zone

Similar to the CAZ, the CGZ are areas where you have to pay to drive. It costs £15 per day and includes most of London.

10) DVLA: Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

The DVLA is a part of the UK government, which keeps information on British drivers and their cars. 

11) EV: Electric Vehicle

This term refers to all pure electric cars - and these are becoming more common these days!

12) EBA: Electronic Brake-force Distribution.

This is when a vehicle’s brake technology automatically varies the amount of force applied to each wheel, based on speed, road conditions and loading so the car brakes as safely as possible. 

13) ESC: Electronic Stability Control.

ESC is technology which assists vehicle stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction. If the driver loses steering control, this automatically applies the brakes and helps to redirect the car as intended.

14) MOT: Ministry of Transport.

This government department is responsible for making sure that cars are only on the road if they’re safe. If you get a car, you’ll need to have it regularly checked in a garage who will report to the MOT. You will then be certified to drive your car for another year. 

15) PHEV : Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) use batteries to power an electric motor and another fuel, such as petrol, to power an internal combustion engine (ICE).

16) RWD: Rear Wheel Drive.

Like a FWD but the back wheels are powered instead of the front. This is the most common operating system for cars in the UK. 

17) SORN: Statutory Off Road Notification.

If you’ve decided not to drive your car, you can complete an SORN for the DVLA. This tells the DVLA that you don’t need to pay road tax or insure your car, but you can’t drive this vehicle.

18) ULEZ: Ultra Low Emission Zone

To help clean up London's air, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, except Christmas Day (25 December). The zone was recently expanded to cover all areas within the North and South Circular Roads. Do check if your car is on the list of those where you need to pay a charge. Transport for London, or TFL, has more information on who is affected.


And that is it for today's blog post. We hope that you have enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it. If your'e a new driver and need more help with any questions car, driving  or car finance related do check out our other blogs. And keep up to date with all the changes to the speed limit rules - there are more changes afoot in 2023! Check out this and some other changes with our article on five new changes to UK driving laws in 2023.We'll keep you up to date!

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