Knowledge is Power!
Driving through France can be a fantastic experience which you can never forget, and as always the rules and regulations between countries can differ, which is where we've composed a small list to help keep on the right side of the law and to help keep you safe!
Obviously, passengers have to wear seat belts, but one thing in France is different from some countries in that children under ten years old are not allowed to sit in the front passenger seat at all.
Another is, even if you have acquired your driving licence before you are 18 in any other country, you still are not able to drive in France until you are 18, as the law forbids it. Also, you must always carry your driving license with you.
If you have a provisional license, you again, are not allowed to drive in France. If you have also been driving less than two years you must always follow the weather condition speed limits that can be found on motor ways and dual carriage ways.
For example, motorways hold the speed limit of 130km per hour, but in bad conditions that is reduced to 110km per hour. A dual carriageway is at 110km/h but reduced to 90km/h, again this also applies to other roads such as the periphery around Paris and some motorways.
Additionally when driving you need to make sure you have the correct documents with you at all times. This means for every person travelling you need a valid passport, as well as carrying an EHIC card. As for pets most places you try to visit while on holiday in Paris or anywhere else in France require your pet to be up to date with all of its injections but also produce an anti-rabies certificate, but also they need their own passport.
For the car you must carry the V5 log book, the MOT certificate if applicable, and a valid certificate of your motor insurance, although it can be noted that sometimes car insurances do not always cover travelling into Europe at first and it is always best to check and if needed, upgrade your cover.
If you are from the UK you will need to make sure you have either a GB sticker, or if you are from another foreign country a sticker with your relevant country's letters if it is not already on your number plate.
Again, if you are from the UK or have a right hand drive vehicle you will need to place deflectors on your lights so that they point to the right direction when driving on the other side of the road, and to make sure they do not dazzle other motorists.
Among those there are other things you must keep in your car which are a legal requirement when driving on the French roads.
- An Emergency triangle, although more than one may be needed in some countries.
- A reflective safety jacket for each seat the car has.
- Fire extinguisher
- First aid kit which also includes needles
- Two breathalysers
- Spare wheel
- Replacement bulbs
- Replacement fuses
- If towing any type of caravan or trailer, extended mirrors are also needed
The idea of having a radar detector fitted to your vehicle is illegal, as the French Government publish information to where speed traps are found. This also includes any sat navs which have the ability turned on, and if found with it on, it can grant you an unwanted fine, and if you cannot pay you can have your car confiscated!
In bad weather, including rain, fog and similar circumstances, when going through a tunnel or when towing even if it is during the day it is compulsory to turn the lights on. Although when on a motorway you will find that it is normal practise for others to quickly flash their lights if they are coming up fast so do not be alarmed as it is normally a way of them saying to be warned.
The alcohol limit while in France is lower than you will find in the UK for comparison, which supports the idea of not drinking and driving at all, and it much more advised, as the penalties for being found over the limit while behind the wheel can be very severe, and the police can do random spot checks.
When you are driving in France, if you were to be the first to arrive on a scene of any type of road accident then you are required to stop and give assistance to whoever may be in trouble, whether it be first aid or putting out a small fire. It is also required that you call the police or standard emergency services number who can in turn notify the ambulance or fire brigade services if need be.
If you are to have the unfortunate luck of ever breaking down while driving through France you will need to place a warning triangle on the road at least 30 metres from the car, and another if possible is recommended.
Although if you are to break down on a motorway and need a tow truck you will need to contact the police as no breakdown service vehicle will enter any type of motorway system without having gained police authority first.
But if you want to drive through France to see some of the fantastic monuments or the scenery, you can take precautions to ensure it will be an easy, safe and enjoyable trip.
Lastly, it'd be wise to add, that all information can change at any moment, so it can always be best to check before going on a holiday abroad so you are able to enjoy your time away to its fullest.