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Tips For Driving In France This Summer

By raccars Published

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France is one of the most popular destinations for British holidaymakers, and a number of them choose to drive. If you're planning a driving holiday to France this summer, or even Easter, you will need to be aware of the rules of the road across the Channel.

First of all, the minimum age for driving in France is 18. Even if you have got a full UK licence at 17, this will not be valid for driving in France. To hire a car you will need to be 21, but prices are very high until the age of 25.

Make sure you are prepared, not only with all your relevant documents to hand - passport, driving licence, vehicle registration document and proof of insurance - but you must also carry certain equipment in your car. By law, all cars in France must contain a warning triangle, sufficient hi-vis jackets for every occupant of the car - and these must be within easy reach from inside the vehicle, rather than stuffed away under the boot lining - spare bulbs and at least two self breathalysing kits. These can be bought for one euro at most garages and supermarkets. Don't forget also to use headlight beam deflectors - failure to use beam deflectors can leave you at risk of a police fine.

Make sure you have disabled any radar detector warnings on your sat nav and don't use any devices designed to warn you of impending speed traps. Using speed camera warning systems carries a 1,500 euro fine in France, plus the confiscation of the device and potential impounding of your car. Similar punishments apply if TV screens are within the driver's view, so be careful how you place any in-car entertainment.

Any accidents which occur while driving in France will necessitate the completion of a form called a 'constat amiable,' by all parties involved. This is needed for insurance purposes. If you are struggling with the language barrier, it's worth calling your insurer to see if they can supply you with a representative who can speak French.

Children under the age of 10 are not allowed to use front seats in France - except in two seater cars. A height limit for child seats is not officially imposed but it is recommended that children under 150cm use an appropriate booster seat.

The legal alcohol limit in France is 0.5% BAC, which is lower than the UK's 0.8%. Effectively, this is a no tolerance policy and French police will enforce it rigorously. Don't risk even a single glass of wine with lunch.

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