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Driving in France: 2017 Regulations

23rd June 2017

Are you planning on driving in France this year? With fluctuating requirements, it can be hard to know what you need. Here is what you need to know about driving in France in 2017.

The Kit List

Don’t take this list with a pinch of salt; French traffic police are known to stop non-national vehicles to check that they have everything they are required by law to have. Everything can result in a fine, which could make a serious dent in your holiday budget.

  • Passport
  • Full Driving Licence
  • Insurance Information
  • Log Book
  • Headlight converters
  • High Viz Vests (one per passenger)
  • Warning Triangle
  • Spare Bulbs
  • GB sticker
  • Breathalysers – these were a legal requirement and, although they still are, the French Government have decided that people will no longer be fined for failing to have them. However, it’s still worth having a couple.

You can buy complete kits online, just make sure you have enough high-viz vests. If you do break down, make sure you put your vest on before you get out of the car.

Know Your Rules

It is important that you know the laws when driving in France.

  • The drink-driving limit is considerably lower, which you need to be aware of if you decide to indulge in an afternoon glass of vin rouge over lunch. In the UK, the limit is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood; France is just 50 mg. The way we process alcohol varies wildly, but for a typical 13-stone man, that is 350 mls of wine, for a 10-stone woman, it’s one large glass of wine. Be aware that your body can take a while to process alcohol, so if you enjoyed one too many the night before, it’s best to avoid driving the next morning.
  • Like the UK, France has National Speed Limits that aren’t necessarily shown via signs. As a general rule, urban areas are 50km/h, residential areas tend to be 30, and motorways are 130km/h in dry conditions and 110 km/h when it’s wet.
  • Children aged under ten must travel in the back. The only exceptions are if the back seats are already taken by children under ten, and babies under 9 months in rear-facing seats.
  • Speed camera alerts are a big no-no in France, and could land you with a hefty fine, and your device and even vehicle can be confiscated. If your sat nav has a speed camera alert function, be sure to turn it off.

If you are anxious about driving abroad, you would like to stay up-to-date with changing rules, or you would like to take a few refresher lessons to make sure your driving is top-notch, contact a local driving instructor.

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