August 12, 2015

Driving in France

Disruption due to industrial action and migrant activity is currently affecting travel from Dover and Folkestone in the UK to the Port of Calais in France.  Eurotunnel and ferry services are being affected. It’s strongly advised to contact your travel operator before you leave to discuss the best way to carry out your journey. They may suggest rescheduling your crossing or using a different port.

Although the French police have increased their presence in Calais, it’s recommended you keep car windows and doors locked when driving in the vicinity. Should you encounter an emergency, call the European emergency number (112) from your mobile.

The French driving age is 18 so even if you’re 17 and have a full UK licence, you won’t be able to drive in France and you need to be 21 to hire a car. The equipment you’ll need is your passport, driving licence and certificate of vehicle ownership. Further, you need the following kit: a warning triangle, a hi-vis jacket for each occupant, proof of insurance cover, a set of spare bulbs and a breathalyser.

It’s illegal to have a radar detector or any system that warns you about speed cameras; this means that you will need to disable this feature on your sat nav or any system that could alert you to speed traps. Penalties include confiscation of the device, impounding your car and a 1,500 Euro fine. Speed limits are in kmph. If there are houses around you, the speed limit with be 50kmph (31mph), if not it’ll be 90kmph (56mph), dual-carriageways are 110kmph (68mph) and motorways 130kmph (80mph).

The drink-drive limit is also harsher at 0.5% BAC (compared to the UK’s 0.8%), therefore, France is somewhere that drivers should avoid drinking if driving altogether.

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