Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Should 0,5 Remain Alcohol Limit For Drivers in Croatia? Istrian Winemakers Worried of Wine Industry Hit

April 13, 2021 - This year or no later than 2023, the new National Road Safety Plan 2020 to 2030 should be implemented in practice. The plan is so far just a proposal, and one of the suggestions is to reduce the so far allowed 0.5 alcohol limit for drivers in Croatia to 0.0.

However, as Goran Rihelj reports for Hr.Turizam, Istrian winemakers think that 0.5 should remain the upper limit as they fear this will be another blow to winemakers and winegrowers.

„With a corona crisis that has no end in sight and an average drop in wine sales in Istrian wineries of 30 percent, this could be an additional blow to our sector. Istria has positioned itself as a top end-gastro destination with the quality of wine and offer, and we believe that our country should harmonize the National Road Safety Plan with European wine countries such as Italy and France, where 0,5 is allowed, while in Great Britain, for example, 0,8“, said Nikola Benvenuti, President of Vinistra.

Istrian winegrowers and winemakers point out they advocate responsible alcohol consumption but think 0.0 should be the law only for young drivers (defined by the current law of Traffic safety as a driver of 24 years of age) and professional drivers.

Prof. dr. sc. Mladen Boban from the Medical Faculty in Split, who has been researching the biological effects of wine on health for years, says this change would contradict other action plans and strategic documents with whom Croatia plans to increase awareness of the general population about the benefits of Mediterranian cuisine.

"It should not be forgotten that moderate drinking of wine with food is one of the pillars of this diet with the relatively largest contribution to the beneficial effects on health. In this context, it is important to note that in 2013, at the initiative of Croatia and six other Mediterranean countries, UNESCO inscribed the Mediterranean diet in the intangible cultural heritage of mankind. The World Health Organization accepts the Mediterranean diet as an effective strategy for the prevention of non-communicable chronic diseases as the leading causes of premature death globally", Concluded Professor Boban for Hr.turizam.

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In an article in 2019 Croatian Automobile Club magazine Revija HAK  reported that in the eight of the top fatal car crashes from 2016-2018, the leading cause was driving in the opposite direction, which happens due to driving too fast. The article also states that in the said period, 12.989 traffic accidents were caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol. In that number of traffic accidents, 235 persons were killed, and 1,709 were heavily injured, while light injuries due to "drink & drive" are owned to a number of 5,524 incidents. Statistically, drunk drivers are responsible for every fourth death, according to the article in Revija Hak.

In total, Croatia saw 883 traffic accidents with fatal consequences, and 955 people died in the 2016-2018 time spawn.

While winemakers and professor Boban advocate moderate drinking, sadly, the issue of actually respecting the current limit and personal limits of intoxication before sitting behind the wheel remains questionable for Croatian drivers. However, is reducing the allowed alcohol limit enough to make a difference remains unclear.

Learn more about Driving in Croatia on our TC page

For more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

HAK Entering Rent-a-Car World With Focus on Clients Instead of Tourists

The HAK Rent-a-Car company will be engaged in the renting out of vehicles on a commercial basis, which is a bold move considering the fact that this particular sector almost ''died'' because of the coronavirus crisis.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes on the 9th of June, 2020, the Croatian Auto Club (HAK) is in the process of forming its daughter company HAK Rent-a-Car, which, as its name quite obviously suggests, will be engaged in renting out cars on a commercial basis - but with a focus on clients as opposed to tourists.

The company was registered on March the 19th, 2020 in the midst of the ensuing coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown that soon followed, so it is only now that the project is being completed.

Thus, last week, a tender was announced for the director of that company, who is required, in addition to possessing the standard managerial skills, to have at least three years of experience in such a job.

Although at the moment it seems a bit bizarre to start a business in a sector that is in a major crisis, HAK says that this is a strategic move that has been planned for a long time, and that the coronavirus crisis itself shouldn't have a serious impact on their plans, nor on the business of the future company.

As Alan Vojvodic of HAK points out, the decision to establish a new company was made by the Croatian Auto Club based on an existing long-term strategic development plan, which was adopted before the coronavirus epidemic struck.

"The decision was based primarily on the need to cover the mobility services of our members and the development of membership benefits, and our expectations aren't related to the upcoming tourist season, they're long-term," says Vojvodic.

According to the HAK website, there are more than 227,000 active members of the association. As recently confirmed from the Rent-a-Car (RAC) coordination of the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP), due to the focus of this industry primarily being on foreign tourists, especially those who arrive in Croatia by plane, the business of these companies has been reduced by 100 percent in recent months.

They pointed out illiquidity as the biggest problem, because due to the lack of work, they don't have the money to pay the fixed costs that go hand in hand with such a businesses. After the crisis, the issues of airport operations (ZL), leasing companies and vehicle registration are enormously important topics to tackle for the RAC sector.

They add that airports around the world, as well as those here in Croatia, will sooner or later resume normal operations and put their usual resources back into action. However, this is not the case with RAC companies, which mostly belong to the small and medium-sized enterprise segment, where both employment and liquidity have unfortunately been greatly jeopardised, and a longer-term crisis could lead to further permanent business closures.

For more, follow our business page.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Croatian Auto Club Creates Interactive Map with EuroVelo and National Cycling Routes

October 31, 2019 - Cycling in Croatia? Croatian Auto Club has just released a new interactive map with the cycling routes across Croatia. 

A novelty on the Croatian Auto Club's (HAK) interactive map is the cycling routes that pass through Croatia as a contribution to implementing the Cycling Tourism Development Action Plan resulting from the 2020 Tourism Development Strategy. In the future, HAK wants to publish smaller routes by county, in addition to other facilities provided for cycling tourists.

The Croatian Auto Club, with the help of the Coordinating Body for the Development of Cycling Tourism in Croatia (cyclotourism.hr), wants to popularize this type of tourism, enriching its interactive map with new content.

To begin, as part of the interactive map, HAK has published EuroVelo cycling routes passing through Croatia with a brief description of each route and the ability to download the route in KML and GPX format for navigation devices.

In addition to EuroVelo cycling routes, there are also cycling routes that cross Croatian roads. The ultimate desire is to establish a national network of cycling routes.

In early 2019, cooperation with the Croatian Auto Club Information Center was initiated when they agreed to set up cycling routes on the interactive HAK map. Representatives of the Coordination Body have provided GPX tracking for EuroVelo and national cycling routes for this purpose.

This project is the result of long-term cooperation between the tourism and transport sectors and the desire to establish a national network of cycling routes as a basis for a stronger development of cycling, cycling infrastructure and, ultimately, cycling tourism.

Currently, county tourist boards are collecting data from routes for entry regarding lengths, altitudes, route markings, and developing cycling tourism infrastructure such as rest areas, services, accommodation and overnight accommodation, food and beverage service and the like.

Cycling tourism as a tourist product is a relatively young term, and it occupies an increasingly important place in Croatia and tourism. It is imperative for these tourists to navigate our roads safely, with well-marked routes, and be able to find the accommodation around them. Since 2015, when the Cycling Tourism Development Action Plan was adopted, Croatian counties have provided a variety of facilities for tourists looking for an active holiday.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Holiday Weekend, Busy Roads: HAK Talks Traffic Alerts, Biggest Crowds

June 20, 2019 - A head's up from HAK for the holiday weekend ahead. 

Thursday, June 20, is the Feast of Corpus Christi, which many Croatians will connect to the weekend. Recall, on Saturday, June 22, is the Anti-Fascist Struggle Day, and on Tuesday, June 25, Croatia’s Statehood Day. Many drivers in Croatia will likely join the holidays for a mini vacation, which will result in increased traffic on Croatian roads and border crossings, reports T.portal.

Some travelers hit the road already on Wednesday, June 19, which intensified traffic at border crossings and highways, though there were no considerably large crowds. 

The Croatian Automobile Club (HAK) warns that on Thursday morning, there was already traffic from the Lučko toll station on the A1 Zagreb-Dubrovnik motorway in the direction of Dubrovnik, and they pray for your patience.

The same highway saw congestion between Draganić and the 3 Karlovac exit, and increased traffic between the Karlovac junction and Bosiljevo junction in the direction of Dubrovnik.

The biggest crowds are expected on Friday, June 21 in the afternoon, and during the morning of Saturday, June 22 due to the arrival of foreign tourists. Foreign drivers should return to the interior and Western European countries on Sunday, June 23, while Croatian citizens will return on Tuesday, June 25, according to the Croatian Automobile Club. 

The biggest crowds could be felt towards the interior, at the Lučko (A1/A6), Zagreb-East (A3) toll stations, in the afternoon on Sunday and Tuesday. There will also be long waits at the border crossings with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia entering the country (Slavonski Brod, Županja, Stara Gradiška, Maljevac, Bajakovo).

Although it is prohibited to carry out any construction work on motorways and state roads from June 17 to September 2, some of the necessary actions will still take place. At peak times, especially during the weekend, works on highways that could create larger crowds will not take place. If needed, work will take place during the week.

Although prognoses did not announce the extremely high temperatures we witnessed last week, before you take your trip, HAK has sent out a friendly reminder:

Before your trip, you must be rested and regularly stop at rest stops during longer journeys (every 2 hours). Make sure your vehicle is well-prepared for summer driving conditions. Always have enough fluids with you, like water and non-carbonated juices. It is important to regulate the air conditioner in the vehicle properly, and there shouldn’t be too big a difference between the temperature inside the vehicle and the outdoor temperature, up to 8 degrees. This is extremely dangerous if there is a baby in the vehicle.

Stay well informed about current traffic at www.hak.hr or on the HAK mobile application. Enjoy the fact that you are traveling on vacation. Due to a large number of tourists, we advise drivers not to travel at the last minute or use the afternoon hours to return to the interior. If possible, leave before the afternoon. It is also important to be informed. All information will be published on our website (www.hak.hr), smartphone application, and through radio broadcasts.

If you still have problems with your vehicle, our mechanics and towing service drivers are on call every day, and by calling in 1987, every driver in distress will receive roadside assistance in case of vehicle failure. The Contact Center, which is also part of the Information Center of the Croatian Automobile Club, is at the service of all the drivers during the holiday season.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Contactless Payments Coming to Croatian Road Toll Booths

Contactless payments, more accurate mileage calculations and the ability to pay without needing to stop your vehicle are on the way to Croatia's motorways.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

HAK Issues Weather Warning to Drivers, Catamaran Lines Interrupted

If you're taking to the roads, or indeed to the sea, be extremely careful!

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Snow, Rain, and Wind Hit Croatia Today, Here's What You Need to Know

The country gets a chilly taste of winter today.

Monday, 31 July 2017

HAK Issues Warning: Avoid the Roads on these Six Days in August!

In August, HAK (Croatian Automobile Club) expects very heavy traffic on the 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, 19th and 26th of the month. Increased traffic will also be seen on Mondays and Fridays.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Roads, Border Crossings and Ferry Ports to Avoid This Weekend

The peak of the high season has arrived, and we're headed for a hellish weekend filled with traffic jams and queues at highway tollbooths and border crossings.

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