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driving in france


Every year, over 2.8 million Brits travel on the
Dover-Calais route alone, making France a destination where plenty of British
drivers have taken to the roads. Although it is just over the British Channel,
driving in France requires understanding different laws and customs in order to
stay safe. Here?s our guide to driving safely and legally during your stay in
our holiday cottages in France:

The French driving age

The French driving age is higher than the UK?s ? you need to
be 18 to drive, rather than 17. If you need to hire a car, you also need to be
over 21 (though it remains expensive until you?re 25).

On-board equipment

While driving in France, you?ll be required to have this
equipment in the car at all times in the case of an emergency: a high-vis jacket
for each occupant, a warning triangle, proof of insurance cover, spare bulbs
and a breathalyser. As a Brit driving abroad, you?ll also need to keep with you
your passport, driving license and certificate of vehicle ownership.

Radar detectors

It is illegal to have a radar detector or any system which
warns you about speed cameras in France. This also includes some satnav
systems, though in most models this feature can be turned off. If you forget to
turn off the alerts and you are caught, penalties include confiscation, fines
or impounding your car.

Speed limits

French speed limits are measured in kilometres per hour
rather than miles. In built-up areas, the limit is generally 50kph, in
non-built-up areas 90kph, on dual carriageways 110kph and on motorways 130kph. Roadside
checks often take place so keep an eye out for road signs and stick to the
speed limits.

Driving with children

In France, it is illegal to have a child under 10 in the
front seat of your car unless there are no back seats. Even in the back seat,
children will also need to have a car seat appropriate to their size, up to a
height of around 150cm.

The alcohol limit

France takes drink-driving more seriously than the UK do,
with the drink-drive limit being just 0.5% blood alcohol content in comparison
to the UK?s 0.8%. To be on the safe side, avoid drinking alcohol before driving
altogether.

Roundabouts in France

Driving on French roundabouts is slightly different to
driving on British roundabouts. If you see a sign with a yellow diamond on a
larger white diamond as you approach, this means you have priority. If you
don?t see this sign, it means you must follow the rule of priorité à droite, meaning
you should give way to any and all traffic approaching from the right.

GB stickers

All British cars travelling in France need either a GB
sticker or a number plate with a GB badge ? other stickers such as Union Jacks
won?t suffice.


Image: Tim
Kops
, available under Creative Commons

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