The Geneva Motor Show is a place for all car-lovers since 1905: luxury cars, sports cars, and even cars destined for the ordinary people debut here every year. Read more

As we have more and more electric cars on our roads, it’s getting more and more important to familiarize ourselves with them. Personally, for me it has always been very interesting to think about information technology and see how much this industry has evolved – while our Read more

We had the opportunity to have a conversation with our colleague, Tamás at BARE, who happened to be a big car fan himself. At BARE we care about our people’s interests and personalities, especially because we can learn so much from them. Read more

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Road rules and highway codes have a long story: the first ones were made even before the appearance of cars. They were made in order to drive safely, control road traffic, and protect people. The rulebooks have changed a lot since the first publications, so we collected a few facts from the most interesting parts. Enjoy![spacer height=”20px”]

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1. The first Highway Code contained only 18 pages of advice. It was published in the United Kingdom and cost 1 old penny. We bet 18 pages weren’t too hard to learn!

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2. The theoretical part of driving tests was suspended for the duration of World War 2 in Europe.

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3. Zebra crossings were developed in 1949 in UK. Certainly the most famous is the one that appears on Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover. :)

 

4. There is a treaty designed to regulate international road traffic called Vienna Convention of Road Traffic. It was signed by 74 countries in 1968. Later it was followed by the Convention on Road Signs and Signals.
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5. Roundabouts: a French architect called Eugène Hénard designed one-way circular intersections as early as 1877, although they only become really popular in the 1990’s – for rotaries are the safest type of intersection.
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6. At the beginning there were only 10 road signs.

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7. In the UK more than 46 million tests have been taken since the beginning, 1931. The pass rate was 63% – nowadays it’s around 46%.
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8. In the early times of highway codes, drivers would indicate their intention of stopping by extending their right arm and moving up and down slowly.
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9. Priority to the right: although this rule was made for right-handed traffic, several left-hand traffic countries use it as well.
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10. A long time ago there were no separate driving licenses for cars and motorcycles. Once you got the license, you could drive both!
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Author: Adrienne img_6491_resized

Adrienne is a guest blogger of BARE International. She is interested in many things: from playing music, riding horses, to reading ancient texts in their originally written languages. Basically she never gets bored.


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: akocsis@bareinternational.com

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I love autumn.
Whenever I say this out loud, most people go for one of these two reactions: They either try to be polite and only think that I am crazy, or they go ahead and say it right in my face. In the latter case, this small insult is usually followed by statements such as:
– “It gets colder again, it’s dark and it rains ALL THE TIME”, and consequently: “I always get sick this time of year!”
– “Trees are dying but at the same time, spiders pop up from everywhere”
– “The trains are always late because of wet tracks”
– “I can’t wear my nice summer outfit anymore, and it cost me so much money!”
– And… so… on…

 

All of these are very valid arguments, but it’s not all that bad. Truth be told, I might be a little bit biased. Having been born in October, I’m a child of the season, which makes me link the first symptoms of the after-summer period to the joyful idea of birthday celebrations and nice presents. But also objectively, I can think of several reasons why this season is actually really nice. First of all: Trains have a tendency to be late all year long, it’s in their nature (believe me, I know). And second of all (and third, fourth and fifth): Autumn brings cosiness with warm drinks; the great smell of wood being thrown on fireplaces; the perfect excuse to stay home all day doing nothing; and – last but not least – incredibly beautiful nature. It’s not a coincidence that so many people get out there for the sole purpose of admiring those colourful sides of the roads (and living in a forest-rich area, I know perfectly why); but to do so safely, some measures need to be taken. You certainly know these 4 points already and might be able to extend this list yourself, but just as a small reminder:

 

Careful in the corners

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Those leaves in 50 shades of green, yellow, orange, red, purple and brown can be stunningly beautiful, both up in the trees as down on the soil, but they can also get really slippery after some rainfall, especially when piled up somewhere in a corner. So no matter whether you are by bike, motorbike, car or fancy inline-skates… take care.

 

Blinding beauty

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It’s a stunning sight, the reflection on the roads caused by the sunshine that warms the wet roads right after a bit of rainfall that is so typical for this season. But then on the other side… it’s also extremely blinding. It might look a bit silly, being out there in your warmest clothes and at the same time wearing a pair of sunglasses, but just imagine that you are on a skiing trip. It pays off to have them close-by, just in case.

 

Quick checkup

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Game of Thrones-fan or not: Winter is coming. This means that, even more than in warmer seasons, it’s important that your car is in good shape. Related to the next point, clean windows are essential, but also keep an eye on your headlights (more time driving in the dark), your battery (colder temperatures require more of your battery) and your tyres. Whether you want to go for winter tyres or not depends a bit on the climatological circumstances of your country, but in any case, keep in mind that grip is essential and that when temperature drops, the pressure in your tyres will make the same move.

 

Last but not least: Good music

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Good music is always a big plus obviously, but even more so when it gets colder outside. This is especially the case at the very start, when the hot girl or guy that you are enters the car, and you notice that the windows are steaming up right away because it’s suddenly much warmer on the inside than on the outside of the vehicle. Online you can find some tricks to make the haze go away quicker, but in my opinion, the easiest way is to just put the air circulation on at maximum force, aim it at the window, sit back, and enjoy some nice tunes until those blurry shapes outside are recognizable again. 

These are all really small things, and nothing a bit of preparation can’t fix. So don’t let this stop you from enjoying the world outside, it’s beautiful!

 


Author: DavyDSCF4922_resized2

Davy is active in the BARE International office in Antwerp. He has a Master’s degree in Multilingual Communication, and can get himself understood properly in 5 languages. Professionally he’s mostly busy with cars and wireless speakers, topics he’s fond of in his private life as well – apart from other hobbies, such as travelling, cooking, cycling and football.


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: akocsis@bareinternational.com

 

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I’m sure you all remember the first time you sat behind the wheel, started the engine, and took your first “steps” with the car… Either it was easy or hard to learn how to drive. Your father or an instructor was with you, it’s still probably one of the most exciting experiences in our youths. It simply feels great to make such a big thing move!

All of these first impressions are really important. Like in everything we learn in our entire life, bad experiences can ruin everything – so we have to be more careful with this. I’d like to share some ideas I made use of, some advice for those who haven’t got their licenses yet. :)

 

  1. Don’t think about money

Unfortunately this is going to be expensive whether you are a prodigy or not. Don’t choose the cheapest driving school unless you are completely sure they are really good at teaching. It’s better when you don’t have to make a decision based on money.

 

  1. The rules – take it seriously

Traffic and rules are about human lives. Our lives. So don’t be lazy, learn all of the rules thoroughly.

 

  1. The instructor

Basically your experience with the instructor will define your relationship with the driving experience itself. It’s like at school – when you really dislike a subject (e.g. math), it might happen because the teacher is bad, or you can’t get along with him/her. So choose your instructor carefully – it’s more important than getting the license sooner. And don’t be afraid to ask for a new instructor if things don’t work out.

 

  1. Patience

When you find your instructor, he/she will know what to do. Trust them! And more importantly: trust yourself. You will learn to drive eventually. Be patient, and listen to your instructor, they don’t teach unnecessary things. Don’t be afraid to ask: understanding is the key to life, and when it comes to driving in traffic, you need to know the ways of solving all sorts of situations.

And the most important thing: be relaxed! At last, driving is freedom, isn’t it? :)

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Author: Adrienne img_6491_resized

Adrienne is a guest blogger of BARE International. She is interested in many things: from playing music, riding horses, to reading ancient texts in their originally written languages. Basically she never gets bored.


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: akocsis@bareinternational.com

 

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Gábor started working for BARE International in 2012 in the Budapest office. He is very much dedicated towards the automotive projects, so it is no wonder he is dealing with a lot of projects from this industry.

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You work for a mystery shopping company – have you ever done any kind of mystery visits?

dsc01687_editedBefore coming to work for BARE, I used to be an official mystery shopper, and by the time I joined the team, I had already learnt a few things about the industry. Actually I had always been asking the colleagues if they had any open positions, because I was more than interested to working for BARE.
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How about the automotive projects?

At that time, especially in Hungary there weren’t many automotive industry-related projects, but I could join in working on ones that were running in other countries. Since then, there have been a lot of changes in this region.
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During your mystery shopping career did you encounter any kind of interesting or disturbing situations?

As an employee of BARE International, I keep telling our Evaluators to try to avoid mistakes like the ones I did during my first visit. I walked into a dealership. It was a simple walk-in visit, with no need to ask for an appointment in advance from the consultant. So I arrived at the place, and the sales consultant just said to me that he was sorry but I had to come back on another day because there was an exhibition he needed to leave for.
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Could you finish the visit?

Yes I could, but the only question he asked me was: have you decided to buy the car or not? And I was facing with the very hard situation of not knowing what to do, because we had a 10 minutes’ conversation instead of an hour.
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dsc01683_editedWhat do you think about mystery visits in general?

It can be a very good training for you to see how you can act in different situations. It is not about being an enemy of the sales assistant or the brand as a mystery evaluator; instead, you are helping with the brand with your insights in order to provide an even better customer service.

I enjoy being there to learn and help, and I also like the challenge that I need to pay attention to lots of things at the same time. Then it is again to improve my skills. I also get feedback on my mistakes in the report. And last but not least, you can earn money with mystery shopping. So, why not?

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This is definitely a huge a benefit. Do  you have a favourite role you particularly enjoyed playing?

Well, I’m not telling this because I work with automotive projects, but of course, these kinds of visits are my favourites. Why? Because you don’t buy a new car every day. It is a good thing that you can just act as if you were going to buy a car or get a whole fleet for your business. Trying out brand new cars, driving them, and learning about newer and newer tech solutions is really exciting. Besides I really enjoy roleplaying, which can make you act more confidently. And the cherry on the top is to earn money while doing so. Actually, I just did one yesterday.
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Oh, that’s why I couldn’t reach you! Nice! – Do you have any advice for our evaluators?

Yes, my first advice would be just to behave totally normally, there is no need to be stressed, you are in control; just be yourself. Act as if you wanted to buy the product or service. And of course the most important thing is to be truly familiar with the Guidelines, because without that, you will have no idea about the mission. It is not a good feeling if you for example need a proof of visit, but you just forgot to take a picture of the dealership on the spot and because of this, your report is not accepted. It is really frustrating, and I know the feeling.
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Author: Anita @AnitaKocsis910

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Anita is an employee of Bare International. Besides her work, she loves doing yoga, dancing, running, travelling and reading – which is why she often wonders how would it be possible to fit one or two more hobbies into her schedule. Her love for the automotive industry came from the passion for innovations and technology. She has a master’s degree in International Economics and Business.
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Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: akocsis@bareinternational.com

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Why? – Why not! It’s fun.

This is a brief story of a BARE employee, who is a bit of a petrol head and wanted to do some visits himself.

For one, it’s interesting to go through the same procedures as our evaluators, having the same butterflies in the stomach when entering the dealership, and thinking – “Oh god, they must KNOW I’m a mystery evaluator!” And then discovering that everything is fine, and you are just being treated as an ordinary customer.

Of course a car is not something you buy for 1-2 years in an ideal case, so getting proper advice on the details (running costs, insurance, warranty, etc.) is of huge importance. But there is much to learn from these visits, if you are just planning to buy a new (or even used) car.

 

shutterstock_335320880_editedLesson no. 1: the price is far from fixed.

Lesson no. 2: prices are even more flexible than you might think – don’t hesitate to haggle a bit – you can find truly amazing bargains, whether new or demo vehicles are standing in the dealers’ courtyard.

Lesson no. 3: there are some hugely impressive guys working out there as sales consultants.

Lesson no.4: apart from all this, it’s a great opportunity to learn a lot about cars and technology.

Oh, and the smell of a brand new car, the soft voice of the engine during the test drive, while a consultant explains to you all the tech that’s inside, and what further equipment can be also implemented, is priceless. This is just the experience a real car-lover should have.

So, why not?

 

 


 

Author: Ákos

Ákos is a full-time employee of Bare International.Ákos_blogger_pic_edited
He works for the company for more than a year and is a member in the Social media team. He likes travelling, cars, and craft beers. He has a diploma in German Literature and a Master’s Degree in International Relations. Besides English and German, he is trying to master French and speaks Norwegian reasonably well.

 


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: akocsis@bareinternational.com

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If there was one destination that had been on my travel “to do” list for a very long time, it must have been the West of the USA. In June 2016 the moment had finally arrived and with a group of 5 friends we took a 3-week road trip through the amazing national parks and international cities of this part of the world.

There were a couple of things we planned in advance, like a selection of parks and cities we wanted to visit, the songs to include in our road trip playlist (very important!), a place to sleep for the first night (we would camp or stay in motels for the rest of the trip), and renting our car.

A car is an absolute necessity if you plan to visit national parks in the USA, as you need to cover a lot of miles and public transportation will not get you everywhere. As this car was going to be our second home for the coming 20 days, we really wanted to make a good decision here. The car had to be large enough to carry five people with all our luggage, but also comfortable to drive or take naps in.

Here are 10 “golden rules” that I’ve learned on this – and previous – road trips that will come in handy when renting a car abroad.

  1. Rates. Weekly rates usually start for a rental period of 5+ days, so if you extend your trip from 4 to 5 or 6 days, this can actually reduce the price. Or vice versa, to qualify for low weekend rates, you usually have to pick it up on a Thursday afternoon and return it before noon on Monday. So by adjusting your flights or pickup/return times, you might be saving a lot of money!
  2. Location. Off-airport car rental locations will have lower rates and fewer fees (airport taxes, shuttle fees etc.). It might be a little extra hassle to get to the location, but it can be well worth it if fees are significantly lower!
  3. Round trip vs. one way. Usually you will get a lower rate when returning the car to the same place where you picked it up. That’s also why we decided to pick up and leave our car at Los Angeles, where we landed.
  4. Insurances: at the counter you will often be offered expensive insurance to cover any damages, but be sure to check if your credit card company or regular travel/car insurance doesn’t already cover (part of) it.
  5. You might be paying more if the driver(s) are under the age of 25. Most car companies won’t even allow drivers under 21.
  6. Even if your drivers are all above 25, you are still likely to pay extra for each additional driver. So think carefully about how many you need, and make sure to check whether there will be extra costs. As we really had to cover a large distance, we decided to all take turns so the 5 of us all drove. Luckily there were no extra costs charged for this.
  7. Fuel: there are usually 2 options here: return your vehicle with a full or with an empty tank. When you don’t return it with a full tank, you will get charged for the gas you didn’t put in. And rental car companies will usually charge significantly more for gas than local gas stations. So returning your car with a full tank will save you money…and stress. Unless you like filling up gas a couple of times at the end of your trip and constantly drive “in the red”.
  8. Bring your own extras: fees that rental companies charge for GPS systems or child seats can be very high when not included in the standard price. So be sure to check this up front and – whenever possible – think about bringing your own!
  9. Make sure the name on the credit card is the same as the actual driver – or you will simply never get the car keys. I’ve experienced this once myself in Italy which was not exactly a great start of a relaxing holiday!
  10. Mileage. Most car rentals will allow unlimited mileage, but some may restrict the number of miles and start charging you extra for each and every additional mile. So pay attention to this up front!

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We rented a car in the FFAR (Full Size SUV) segment and were fortunate to get an upgrade to a GMC Yukon XL… which was truly a HUGE car for us, as in Europe we are certainly not used to this size of vehicle. This full option car had everything we dreamed of: GPS system, air conditioning, seat cooling and heating (the cause of many jokes of my friends to me…haha), 2 TV Screens, Lane Keep Assist, Parking Camera, 4G WI-FI Hotspot, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert, Cruise Control, Rain-sensitive front wipers and many more. We could not feel safer and happier. And what’s even better: we got a very good rate for it, too!

As our group of friends always gives a name to a car, we decided to call her Patrice, after a character of the series “How I Met Your Mother”. Now we were really ready to hit the road with our dear Patrice.

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Patrice took us from LA to the wonderful trees and cactuses of Joshua Tree National Park, to the decadence of Las Vegas, the red hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, the buttes and mesas of Monument Valley, the immense beauty of the Grand Canyon, the orange rocks of Antelope Canyon, the cliffs and arches of Capitol Reef, to Salt Lake City on our way to the bears, buffalos and geysers of Yellowstone, to the volcanic landscapes of Lassen, the sequoias of Redwood, the vineyards of Napa Valley, the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, to end with the beautiful views of the Pacific Coast Highway on our way back to LA.

We had an amazing time. There’s something truly exceptional about the flexibility and freedom of driving a car in a unique scenery like this. We saw breathtaking nature, unique wildlife (avoid hitting that buffalo on the road!) and experienced crazy moments in the cities of Las Vegas, San Francisco and LA.

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After 5000 miles on highways, natural parks and dust roads in no less than 7 different states, you can imagine that our car was in (very) high need of some cleaning. Although this was supposed to be included in our rental price, we were simply too embarrassed to leave our car looking as it was, so we did decide to take it to the car wash after all… which was probably a wise decision.

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It was a truly great experience and I’m looking forward to many more road trips to come… hopefully with a car as nice as Patrice!

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Author: AnneloreAnnelore Valencia_edited

Annelore has been an employee of Bare International since September 2011 and is based in the Antwerp Office. She has a Master’s degree in English & Spanish literature & linguistics and a Master’s in Management. She likes discovering new places, travelling, reading and going out with friends to enjoy some very good (Belgian) beers.


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: akocsis@bareinternational.com

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I have recently travelled to Azerbaijan for a week. There are not that many options to rent a car, you can find big international companies with small cars, medium sedans or SUVs or doubious local companies, with various cars in various shapes. It would have been possible to rent a Ferrari, but for our purposes (and budget) that was not the best option. We sticked to one of the big international companies and chose a small sedan.

Most of the cars in Azerbaijan are automatic, even the newer russian Ladas. That’s good in Baku, however not on the highways and other roads. Especially if you want to have more control, or some fun.

Our small sedan was automatic as well, had a not working radio, air-con and later on a puncture…. But after all we cannot complain, it has brought us to places, where we mostly saw SUVs on the roads. And he can’t complain either – no new scratches, only the bumpy roads.

shutterstock_387797695_resizedThe roads of the ’Country of fire’

The roads: that was my main worry beforehand. I was positively surprised by some, and not very happy with others. The highways differ hugely regarding their quality. On the other hand some ordinary roads are extremely smooth and beautiful to ride along. It was the joy of driving as far as possible with a small automatic sedan.

During your drive you have to be extremely careful with potholes, cows, sheep, chicken, other drivers, speed cameras (hopefully it worked) and policemen. No wonder, that 1200 kms in three days exhausts a driver. The beautiful landscape helps a lot – as far as not the outskisrts of Baku are concerned, where you can only find oil pumps everywhere.

Gas prices

Well, what do you expect in a country, where it comes right out of the earth? No. It was even cheaper than what you were just thinking. About 0.5 € / liter for 92, and about 0.6 € / liter for 95. So fuel economy is not really a concern – the situation in Baku shows this clearly. The city of traffic jams and huge cars.

Mystery visits in Azerbaijan

Hospitality visits are available in Baku, I myself almost performed one as well. The service is very kind generally, though suffers from some minor issues (neither English nor Russian is understood everywhere), but the locals really make up for those in friendliness.

All in all it was a nice holiday, for everyone, who’s budget is not that thight, I would still recommend to rent an SUV – preferably with a driver. It will make your holidays way more relaxed.

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Author: Ákos

Ákos is a full-time employee of Bare International.Ákos_blogger_pic_edited
He works as a scheduler for Switzerland and is a member in the Social media team. He likes travelling, cars, and craft beers. He has a diploma in German Literature and a Master’s Degree in International Relations. Besides English and German, he is trying to master French and speaks Norwegian reasonably well.

 


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: akocsis@bareinternational.com