Driving on the continent can pose a number of different challenges to driving in the UK. Road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is offering weekly driving safety tips throughout the year, and Britain's top advanced driver, Peter Rodger, is this week offering some essential advice for those driving in France this summer.
One of the main differences from driving in Britain is that in France all drivers and motorcyclists (excluding mopeds) are required to carry a breathalyser kit. This should include two disposable breathalysers. It should be noted, also, that the drink drive limit is lower in France, at 50mg compared to 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Parking officials in France can issue severe on-the-spot fines or 'deposits, and an official receipt will always be issued. They also have the jurisdiction to tow away or impound vehicles parked contrary to regulations. Any driver holding an EU driving licence and exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 km/h could also have their licence confiscated immediately by police.
Other significant precautions to take are that you are required to carry a warning triangle and reflective jacket in your car, and convert your headlamps for French roads. You should take regular breaks and rest on your journey because driving on the right hand side of the road on unknown routes can offer major challenges. Finally, any child sitting in the front passenger seat must be at least ten years old, or a baby up to nine months old in a rear-facing child seat.
Peter Rodger re-enforced the fact that preparation is the key. The car should be fit for the journey, you should make use of ajourney planner to ensure your route is known, and this should include scheduled fuel stops.
Copyright Press Association 2013