Driving in France
If you are Planning a trip to France there are a few things you need to consider.
What documents do I need?
Driving Licence – It’s advisable to take the pink part of your driving licence which contains photo identification as well as the green paper part of the licence which outlines if you have any convictions.
Passport – You need to take your passport with you when travelling to France, if you only have the green part of your driving licence you will need to keep your passport with you when driving to validate your licence.
Vehicle Registration Document (V5) – You will also need to carry your vehicle registration document with you. If the vehicle is leased /hired then you will need a written letter of authorisation from the vehicle owner/company giving you authorisation to take the vehicle to France.
Insurance – It’s mandatory to carry your insurance documents whilst driving in France.
Insurance covers that are worth considering
European Health Insurance card – If you live in the UK you need to apply for a Free European Health Insurance card from the NHS by visiting EHIC the card can enable you to have free or reduced cost medical treatment if you become unwell whilst visiting some European countries.
European Breakdown cover – In the unfortunate event of your vehicle breaking down cover, insurance can provide you with a temporary vehicle, roadside assistance and other benefits. If you are only planning a short trip most of the bigger breakdown companies are quite expensive so it’s worth trying Breakdown Direct and Insure and Go who can provide cover for short journeys at a fraction of the cost. (Be aware that you need to book with insure and go 10 days before the policy needs to start or else you cant make a claim if you breakdown, which kind of defeats the object of having insurance)
Travel Insurance – Travel insurance can cover you for medical expenses, travel costs and expenses that occur from cancelled flights etc, lost passport or cash and a whole lot more. It gives you peace of mind for a few pounds one of the cheapest places to look for travel insurance is Money Supermarket.com.
Additional items that you are advised to carry
- A spare set of bulbs and fuses
- Reflective warning triangle
- First Aid Kit
- Visibility vest are compulsory and one is recommended for every vehicle occupant and should ideally be carried in the car.
- Fire extinguisher
- If your vehicle is registered outside of France it requires a sticker to be displayed showing its country of origin.
Things to consider
Minimum driving age – The minimum age for driving is 18 and you must hold a full driving licence.
Drink Driving – France is less tolerant to drink driving than the UK with a maximum alcohol blood level of 0.5 grams/litre as opposed to the UK’s 0.8 grams/litre. It’s advisable not to drink whilst driving in France as if you exceed or even reach this limit you could receive a large fine or face 2 years in prison.
Headlamp Converters – As you will be driving on the right hand side of the road if your car is from the UK you will need Headlamp converters which are small stickers that are attached to the outside of your headlamp.
Low Visibility – You must turn on your headlight on in the day if visibility is low.
Children – No child under 10 are allowed to travel in the front of a vehicle unless fitted with a specially adapted rear-facing seat. A child seat must be used if the child weighs less than 15kg and over this weight a booster seat and seatbelt combination can be used.
Seat Belts – Front and rear seat belts are mandatory whilst driving in France.
Stop signs – If you encounter a stop sign at a road junction you have to come to a Complete Stop even if there is no traffic around and the road ahead is clear.
Speed limit – If you are caught speeding in France you can be issued with an on the spot fine, have your car impounded and license taken from you and a ban from Driving in France. French roads have a lower speed limit when driving in wet conditions that is strictly enforced. French motorists will often try and notify oncoming vehicles of a police presence by flashing them twice even though it is illegal to do so. Radar speed traps are very common in France and again require you to pay an on the spot fine if caught speeding.
Normal Driving Condition Speed Limits
Motorway: 130kmh/ 80mph
Dual Carriageway: 110kmh/ 68mph
Other Roads: 90kmh/56mph
Towns: 50kmh/ 31mph
Wet Driving Condition Speed Limits
Motorway: 110kmh/ 68mph
Dual Carriageway: 100kmh/ 62mph
Other Roads: 80kmh/ 50mph
Towns: 50kmh/ 31mph