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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 160

Date:- 24 July 2004

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CARAVANNERS VOTE NOW!

ONCE AGAIN nominations have begun for the CRiS Dealer of the Year Awards 2004. In association with Practical Caravan these awards are based upon consumers nomination of their local or favourite caravan dealer. The award is designed to acknowledge and reward the UK dealers who pull out all the stops to offer exceptional customer service. The awards are based entirely on customer nominations, making them highly coveted and sought after.

CRIS is calling all caravan owners to nominate the dealer they feel has given them outstanding service in the last 12 months. Simply fill in the voting form in Practical Caravan Magazine or at Practical Caravan on-line at:-
www.practicalcaravan.co.uk/ and sing the praises of their favourite dealer in no more than 40 words. The closing date is 29th September 2004 and all voting forms are automatically entered in a prize draw for the chance to win a portable DVD player worth £299.

Alan Bishop, Director of Leisure Sector at HPI comments:- "The CRIS Dealer of the Year Awards run in association with Practical Caravan have become an established accolade for caravan dealers. The winner benefits from being acknowledged as one of the UK's best dealers and customers get a clear badge of quality. Caravan dealers are a vital source of information for consumers. A touring caravan is an expensive purchase so people need to be sure they are getting the right advice before buying and quality after sales service.

Voters should be looking for a dealer that went the extra mile to give them an exceptional experience. A dealer should spend time finding the right caravan for the customer's car and specific needs. After sales is just as important and dealers should go out of their way to fix even the smallest problem and respond quickly to the needs of customers. Consumers can vote now and help their favourite dealer get the recognition they deserve."


The overall winner of the Dealer of the Year Awards 2003 was Lincolnshire based Couplands Caravans.

MILLIONS OF BRITONS AT RISK ON EU ROADS, WARNS RAC

MILLIONS of British drivers travelling to Europe this summer are at risk of road accidents, driving fines or penalties because they have no idea of the motoring laws, according to an RAC report.

More than half the UK population, 45 million people,  are expected to visit Europe over the next year* and 19 million people say they are likely to use a vehicle to get around. The Port of Dover alone processed over 2.5 million tourist cars, 1.7 million lorries and an additional 14.6 million passengers in 2003 , numbers they expect to increase this year, with the peak travel period being in the summer months.

However, the RAC report shows 70% of Britons are completely unaware of any traffic regulations in any of the 28 EU countries, putting both non-motorists and motorists at serious risk of accidents and fines.

Just 18% of British motorists claimed to have some understanding of motoring laws in France, even less in Spain (10%), the Irish Republic and Germany (7%) and Italy (4%). Elsewhere, knowledge of the law is very poor, with no one surveyed claiming to understand any laws in new EU countries such as Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania or Bulgaria (all less than 1%).

In light of the report, RAC Legal Services is warning Britons to be better prepared for any European trips this summer and is offering more information via www.rac.co.uk. Drivers should also consider legal expenses insurance, as all  ...continued opposite.... 

......  motorists buying RAC European Motoring Assistance can receive Legal Expenses Cover as part of the package from as little as £12.00 to protect themselves in the unfortunate event of a legal dispute.  Mark Hodges, of RAC Legal Services said:- "Millions of Britons use cars to travel in Europe each year but few understand the traffic laws. The costs of legal disputes, accidents and fines abroad can be huge so people are at real risk. Tourists may think they are covered for accidents, personal injury or breakdown on their travel insurance, but this is not always the case. Drivers should check the traffic laws and their insurance cover before going abroad."

RAC Legal Services surveyed more than 2,500 motorists to examine how many people plan to travel this year and public awareness of motoring law (e.g.
speed limits, parking regulations and emergency numbers) in each of the EU countries.

In response to the study, RAC Legal Services offers the following information for drivers. The key laws in the most popular tourist destinations are as follows:-

FRANCE

Key laws:- Drivers must be more than 18 years old and have a valid UK driving licence. Motorists drive on the right-hand side of the road. Speed limits are 130 kph on motorways and 50kph in towns. Police hand out on-the-spot speeding fines. Wearing a seatbelt (front and back) is compulsory. Children under 10 years old are not allowed in the front seat. Drivers must also have headlamp converters when driving in poor light.

SPAIN

Key laws:- A person must be more than 18 years old and have a valid UK driving licence. An International Driving Licence is also required. Motorists drive on the right. Speed limits are as follows:- 20kph in
residential areas, 50 kph in built-up areas and 120 kph on the motorways. UK drivers must wear a seat belt.

Parking laws are confusing. On even days of the month, parking is on the side of even numbered houses. On odd days of the month, parking is on the
side of odd numbered houses. Illegally parked cars can be towed away.

ITALY

Key laws:- Motorists drive on the right side on the road. The speed limit on most motorways is 130 kph and in towns is 50 kph. Speed limits are enforced
rigorously with heavy on-the-spot fines. Carrying a spare fuel can is illegal. Children under four cannot travel unless restrained, children under 12 cannot travel in the front unless restrained. Third party insurance is compulsory.

PORTUGAL

Key laws:- Person must be more than 18 years old and have a valid UK driving licence. Drivers must also have an International Driving Permit. Motorists
drive on the right. Speed limits vary from 50kph in towns to 130kph on the motorways. There are special requirements for those that have been driving
for less than a year. Children under the age of 12 must be restrained in the vehicle. Third party insurance is compulsory.

GERMANY

Key laws:- Person must be more than 18 years old and have a valid UK driving licence. There are no speed restrictions on motorways unless shown. Speed limits in towns stand at 50kph. Radar traps are frequent and police can issue visitors with heavy on-the-spot fines for speeding, parking, abusive
language, derogatory signals and running out of fuel on motorway. Drivers must have third party insurance and carry a first aid kit. Children under 12 or 1.5m tall must wear proper restraints.

A parking disc system operates in major towns, discs available from police, tourist offices and tobacconists. Parking meters can also be found in
certain areas

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