Driving in France Tips for Summer 2013

Peter Rodger from the Road safety charity, the IAM (www.iam.org.uk), have provided the following essential advice to those driving in France this summer.

– In France all drivers and motorcyclists (excluding mopeds) need to carry a breathalyser kit, with two disposable breathalysers. The breathalyser must meet the NF standards (similar to the BSI here in the UK) and carry an NF certification. The French government have postponed the fine for non compliance but you still have to have one.

– Remember too, that the drink drive limit in France is lower than in the UK, 50mg compared to 80mg per 100ml of blood. If you’re driving, don’t drink, and beware the morning after effect.

– On-the-spot fines or ‘deposits’ in France are severe. An official receipt should always be issued. Vehicles parking contrary to regulations may be towed away and impounded.

– Holders of EU driving licenses exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 km/h will have their licences confiscated on the spot by the police.

– You are required to carry a warning triangle, reflective jacket, and convert your headlamps when driving in France.  It is recommended that you carry spare light bulbs if you can fit them easily.

– Driving on the right hand side of the road on unknown routes can be rather challenging. Take regular breaks, and always have a rest if you’re getting sleepy.

– A child sitting in the front passenger seat must be at least 10 years old (or a baby up to 9 months in a rear-facing child seat). While radar speed camera detectors are legal in the UK, in France they are illegal whether or not you are using them. This legislation includes satnav systems which show speed camera information.

IAM chief examiner Peter Rodger said: “The school holidays are fast approaching, and many people will be driving on the continent this summer. Driving abroad can be very different to driving at home, but preparation as always is the key. Make sure your car is fit for the journey, plan your route in advance, including fuel stops, and perhaps most importantly, remember your breathalysers.”