Tips from the experts: driving in France
Driver training specialist IAM Drive & Survive is offering motoring tips to drivers going to France this summer.
If you think driving in France is like driving here, but on the wrong side of the road, think again. There are now so many regulations about what you need to carry, you can end up looking like a Highways Agency patrol car.
• From 1 July, all drivers and motorcyclists (excluding mopeds) need to carry a breathalyser kit, with two disposable breathalysers. The breathalyser must meet the NF standards (similar to the BSI here in the UK) and carry an NF certification.
• If you're going to drink, don't drive, and remember the alcohol limit is lower in France – 50mg compared to 80mg per 100ml of blood.
• You are also required to carry a warning triangle, reflective jacket and spare light bulbs.
• Drive on the right-hand side of the road. If you have two drivers, agree to remind each other when you swap and when continuing the journey after a break.
• At complex junctions (especially left turns) look for the international circular sign with a white arrow on a blue background that shows you which way to pass the traffic island.
• A child sitting in the front passenger seat must be at least 10 years old (or a baby up to 9 months in a rear-facing child seat).
Finally one unofficial tip from us. The French police know all about Brits running late and rushing to catch the ferry/EuroTunnel home. Their favourite place in the whole country for mobile speed traps is the motorway stretch approaching Calais, so be careful. When we used that motorway in April, we saw three mobile patrols – and one Brit who was definitely going to be late home.