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‘Very high’ hay fever warning for Welsh motorists

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The Met Office is issuing a ‘very high’ pollen forecast for Wales, which could give hay fever sufferers more than watery eyes from today.

Welsh hay fever sufferers who are vulnerable to grass and nettle pollen and Cladosporium spores, which will increase in intensity with the warm, dry sunny days should take note, especially if they take medication to lessen symptoms.

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The Met Office forecast has led to a warning from one of the country’s leading car insurance comparison websites, that many motorists are unaware of the fact that ‘driving under the influence’ could result in hefty fines and points on their licence.  Some hay fever medications could see drivers committing this type of motoring offence without even realising it.

Insurance comparison website Quotezone.co.uk says the government legislation that bans driving while under the influence, does not distinguish between illicit drugs, prescription medication and over-the-counter medications.  This means any type of drug that affects a motorist’s driving abilities could potentially result in a drug-driving conviction, even if it’s something as simple as hay fever medication that causes drowsiness.

One in four people in the UK has hay fever, that’s approximately 16 million people, according to the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation.  Grass pollen is arguably the biggest cause of seasonal allergies, affecting approximately 90% of hay fever sufferers – with peak season from mid-May until July.

Welsh hay fever sufferers could consider the following advice before getting behind the wheel:

Five driving tips for hay fever sufferers

Check medication – antihistamines and hay fever medications can differ in strength, check with the doctor if in any doubt about possible side effects and always read the label – the warning, ‘do not operate heavy machinery’ is commonly found and applies to cars, forklifts and any other heavy machinery.

Plan journeys – check the Met Office Pollen warnings or download the weather app, which gives a 5-day forecast for high pollen counts. 

Keep the car as pollen-free as possible – clean the car regularly to get rid of dust that could trigger symptoms before setting out, regularly change pollen filters in the car’s ventilation system and keep car windows closed during journeys.  

Get stocked up – keep the car stocked with fresh tissues, hay fever medicine, a bottle of water, eye drops, anything used to ease the symptoms, should they strike unexpectedly. 

Drive safely – better to err on the side of caution, giving lots of space to fellow road users and taking breaks if hay fever symptoms start.  If drivers don’t feel well or the pollen count is high, play it safe and don’t make non-urgent journeys.

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Greg Wilson, Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, comments:  “A lot of people aren’t sure exactly when the hay fever season starts, it actually runs for seven months of the year – March to September – depending on the type of pollen people are allergic to, so it can catch drivers off guard.

“Most people assume that the term ‘drug-driving’ refers to driving while under the influence of illicit narcotics, but the truth is that driving after taking any type of drug, could result in a motoring conviction if the motorist’s driving abilities are impaired.

“While some hay fever medications are non-drowsy, some types do cause drowsiness, and some prescription hay fever tablets in particular carry a ‘do not operate heavy machinery’ warning. If a driver fails to obey this warning and gets behind the wheel, they could risk a hefty fine of up to £5,000, points on their licence and endanger themselves and other road users.”

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Llanelli

West Wales car dealership to double in size

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Dafen-based Llanelli Motor Company have broken ground on a new development that will see their forecourt double in size over the coming months.

Led by Managing Director Ian Jonathan, the two-phase project will see the independent car dealership increase the number of used vehicles it has on sale to over 400 by January 2023.

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“It’s certainly an exciting period for the business,” said Ian, “and with the significant changes to the used car market, we felt now was the right time to start the project, which has been in the pipeline for over five years.”

Although the business was potentially looking at 2020 as a start date for the developments, the Coronavirus Pandemic put the brakes on the project.

However, since the easing of lockdown restrictions and the delay in obtaining new vehicles, the used car market has seen an unprecedented spike in demand.

Dafen based Llanelli Motor Company is planning to double in size
The company have broken ground on an expansion that will see over 400 cars on sale by the end of January 2023

“The last 12 months have been exceptionally busy,” continued Ian.

“No sooner are we finalising our 140-point safety check on vehicles before placing them on the forecourt, than they are being purchased within a matter of days”.

With the ability to stock 150 nearly new vehicles of all makes and models at the moment, the 1-acre expansion will increase this to 250 by September before more than doubling it to 400 by the spring of 2023.

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In order to facilitate this growth, the company will also be entering a recruitment phase and looking to employ at least 10 new members of staff across its sales, workshop and admin teams as well as taking on new apprenticeships.

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Lifestyle

Swansea man’s delight as he scoops combined £37,000 cash-and-car prize

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A Swansea man who was feeling lucky during the working week was left in a state of delighted disbelief on finding out he had won a combined £37,000 cash-and-car prize with online competitions company BOTB.

Anthony Brain from Swansea could not believe his luck when BOTB’s Christian Williams picked up the phone to let him know he was the winner of its Midweek Lifestyle competition.

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Anthony, who works for Swansea-based automotive products company Marelli, scooped a brand new BMW 128ti, as well as a cash prize of £2,000.

After recovering from his initial shock, Anthony said: “It’s absolutely unbelievable – I’m over-the-moon and still on a real high from it. It’s rare that I take part in the Midweek Lifestyle Competition – I think I’ve only entered it once or twice before – but I was feeling lucky during the working week, so thought ‘why not?’ When I got the call to say I’d won, I was stunned.

“Being a car enthusiast, I’m really excited about winning the car but the cash is brilliant too. We’ve already booked some holidays with some of the winnings, including to Italy and Florida. It’s nice to have something to look forward to.”

Anthony said his prize win has prompted colleagues to throw their hat in the ring and give BOTB’s competitions a go.

He added: “The thing is you’ve got to be in it to win it – and I think once you know someone who has won, you feel more hopeful that you could be in with a chance. I’d encourage anyone thinking about entering to try it for themselves.”

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Other recent winners have bagged a motorbike, a luxury holiday to Barbados and £15,000 in cash. 

The company, listed on the stock market, was founded by William Hindmarch in 1999 and has given away more than £47m worth of cars so far. 

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Motoring

Summer of thunderstorms warning for motorists

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As weather forecasters predict the country could be in for a summer of thunderstorms, a leading insurance comparison firm warns motorists to check their insurance policies before venturing out. 

The Met Office says a ‘hotter than normal’ summer will bring outbreaks of torrential downpours, hail and thunderstorms as temperatures cool after heatwaves.

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A glimpse of what could be a blistering summer, with high temperatures, heavy downpours and thunder and lightning was seen last weekend – particularly in the south.

Heavy and thundery rainfalls are predicted for the coming weekend, especially in the west.

Quotezone.co.uk, a leading car insurance comparison website, says any damage to cars caused by driving through flash floods might not be covered by insurance policies. It warns motorists to carefully check their policy exclusions, and even if routes are partially blocked, drivers should think twice before using waterlogged roads.

If drivers find themselves stuck in the car during a thunderstorm, official advice from the Met Office is to wind up the window and stay inside the vehicle – the metal frame of the car should act as a conductive Faraday cage, passing the current around the passengers and into the ground, should it be struck by lightning.  Open or soft top vehicles are best kept under cover. 

Greg Wilson, Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, comments: “Motorists who have taken out third party only or third-party, fire and theft insurance wouldn’t be covered for any storm damage to their vehicles – only fully-comprehensive policyholders are likely to be protected in those cases.

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“If a storm is predicted, look at official flood warnings, avoid roads that are likely to flood and allow more time for your journey, note you may have to pull over and wait it out if the downpour starts to affect your visibility – not forgetting to put on the hazard lights.

“Unfortunately, if motorists do decide to drive through waterlogged roads, there’s a very real risk that they won’t be covered for any resulting water damage to the car – even fully-comprehensive drivers.”

Greg also warns motorists that have to go out, to make sure their cars are roadworthy before setting off, which includes checking tyre tread and windscreen wipers.

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