There’s nothing like packing for your holidays. Checking the endless lists: ticket, money, passport? However, travelling and driving on the Continent is now so simple, that it’s easy to forget that there are, in fact, some significant differences in what you need in your car in order to stay legal. We’re off to Brittany soon, so I’ve been doing a little research into what we need, and the list is longer than you might think. There seems to be a certain amount of conflicting advice, but as far as I can find out, if you follow this list you should be OK. I certainly hope so, as it’s what I’ll be doing!
- Your full driving license – both the photocard and the paper counterpart.
- Insurance certificate and car registration documents.
- Headlamp adaptor stickers, so you’re not dazzling oncoming traffic.(I think that it’s a great shame that French cars don’t use yellow headlights any more. It was one of those things that let you really know you’re abroad.)
- A GB sticker on the back of the car, or a number plate incorporating GB identification.
- A fluorescent safety vest and a warning triangle, which you place 50 to 150 metres behind your car if you’ve broken down. The vest has to be in the car’s passenger compartment, not the boot.
- A spare set of headlamp bulbs.
- Currently, enforcement of the requirement for everybody to carry a breathalyser has been postponed indefinitely. .
- Speed camera warning devices are illegal.
- If you use contact lenses, you must carry a pair of spectacles.
This is not necessarily an exhaustive list of requirements. Please make sure to check with your insurance company before you travel.
What else should we be thinking about before we take a British car to France?
Fuss Free Flavours will be travelling to Brittany on a review trip with Thomson Al Fresco Holidays and Brittany Ferries.
Cheryl @ Madhouse Family Reviews
For the breathalysers, the legal requirement to have one (not two any more) in your car has actually been reinstated. However, they have done away with the fine if you fail to have one so you don’t risk anything if you don’t have one.
Whereabouts are you going? My husband is from Daoulas near Brest. The coasts are lovely.
We are going to Carnac, cannot wait! Love Brittany, it reminds me of Cornwall, although the weather is far far nicer!
Sarah, Maison Cupcake
I actually bought two breathalysers at Maidstone services on our way home from France last night. We’d completely forgotten about them and hadn’t heard the rules had changed. The rule does seem rather pointless as 99% of these kits will end up sitting in people’s boots and never being used. It makes more sense for 99% of the kits being carried by the police actually getting used. All that’s achieved by making drivers responsible to carry them is the police save money and some company selling the kits gets rich on the massive increased sales.
I didn’t know you were supposed to carry the high vis vest inside the car, I guess it makes sense. My understanding is that you’re meant to have one for every passenger although buying them for small children seems impossible.
it isn’t a requirement, but we always take our own bread knife and a couple of plastic plates and cutlery. then you can have impromptu baguette sandwiches with squeezy toothpaste style mayo ham and cheese, for when you see somewhere lovely to stop and admire the view. Frugal as well.
A few bags of sweets for the road. Water. An updated satnav with the addresses of all the places you want to visit preprogrammed. Your own corkscrew. BYO loo roll (French stuff is rotten). I have mainly ignored the legal list apart from the high-viz, triangle & breathalyser… bold me!
You’ve put together a fantastic post here! If any of your readers are regular visitors to France, or are planning a longer journey through the country, they might be interested in the Liber-T tag from Sanef Tolling. The tag enables UK motorists to use the automatic telepeage lanes, which have previously been reserved for French residents. Find out more here: https://www.saneftolling.co.uk
Best wishes, Alex.