Driving in France
A driving holiday in France can be quite relaxing. Getting around under your own steam means you can stop when you like, where you like, for as long as you like. Driving your own car, especially if you have small children, is often more convenient than hiring one and using the ferry or Eurotunnel is far more convenient than you might think. There are a few things that you should know about French driving law that could save you some hassle once you arrive.
It is essential that take along a spare set of fuses and light bulbs as it may be difficult to find replacements for an English car in a rural French village. It also recommended that you carry a warning triangle, torch, first aid box and spare fan belt in the boot.
Also, you may need to inform your car insurance company if you are taking your car abroad. In the past it was necessary for insurers to issue you with a Green Card (International Certificate of Motor Insurance). Nowadays, however Green Cards are very rarely issued for visits to France/EU, as most UK Certificates of Motor Insurance now include an International Certificate of Insurance (Green Card) on its reverse. If you are unsure, however you should check with your insurance company or broker.
Although the right hand drive setup is a bit of a giveaway, you must also affix a GB sticker to the back of your car to indicate the country of origin. French police are known to make random checks for paperwork so it is best to make sure it is all in order before you arrive in the country.
If you are taking a right hand drive automobile to France, be sure to alter the headlights before you go to avoid blinding oncoming drivers. This is an easy fix using a headlamp or beam converter kit from your local car spares shop.
It is wise to be extra careful whilst overtaking as your visibility will be compromised somewhat with a right hand drive vehicle. It is very important that you return to the inside land immediately after overtaking or you will likely find yourself slapped with an on-the-spot fine.
French drink driving laws are very strict. At the very least, you will receive a hefty fine with the worst-case scenario being escorted by police to the nearest ferry terminal. This is worth considering particularly if you are going on a self-drive wine tour. Despite you best swish-and-spit intentions, it doesnít take long for things to go horribly wrong.
Most motorways in France are toll roads and the charges can add up to be quite a sum on longer distance routes. You will be able to pay the fees with Euro cash or credit card but not travellerís cheques as it holds up the queue.