What do I need to drive in France?
“What do I need to drive in France?” is a question that we get asked time after time and it’s obvious that many people don’t look into it carefully enough before heading off across the channel.
This was quite evident during our latest camping holiday in France. We arrived at Dover and whilst waiting in the queue, we were handed a leaflet from one of the P&O Ferry employees detailing what we’d need when driving in France. Luckily for us we already had all of the required items as we’d planned carefully prior to setting off on holiday but it was quite clear than many people either didn’t know what they needed to drive in France or that they had forgotten certain items.
Now although you can buy any of the items either at the shop at Dover or on board any of the cross channel ferries, you’d be much better planning ahead and getting all of the items prior to travelling. You’ll probably not be surprised to find out that if you do leave buying the required items until you get to the ferry that you’ll pay substantially more.
Just as an example we chose three items and checked the prices onboard the ferry and then from Amazon. A Hi Vis Vest for example can be bought for just £1.22 on Amazon whereas you can pay a staggering £7.99 on board. A GB sticker is available from just £1.05 from Amazon or £3.99 on board and finally Headlight Deflectors can be bought for just £3.53 from Amazon or £7.99 on board the ferry.
Although in the grand scheme of things you may not be fussed about the odd few pounds we think it’s well worth looking into as when you look just at the items we’ve mentioned you could save up to £14.17. You can also find driving in France kits available from many suppliers where you can get most or all of the items you’ll need in a hand carry bad which you can just leave in the boot of your car. These kits start from just £20.39 on Amazon.
So the question is “What items do I need to drive in France? Well you can find full details on our driving in France page but to give you a quick lowdown we’ve put together a short driving in France checklist below. All of the items listed are required when driving in France and failure to comply could lead to an on the spot fine for each item not carried.
These fines can range up to €135 for each!
Vehicles in France drive on the right side of the road which means that any UK vehicles will dazzle drivers on the opposite carriageway. There is therefore a requirement for UK vehicles to have headlight deflectors fitted when driving in France. Those without deflectors fitted will incur and on the spot fine.
Hi Vis Vest – Hi Vis Jacket
A Hi Vis Vest is an essential piece of equipment that you must carry with you when driving in France. If you have an accident or breakdown whilst driving in France you must put on a Hi Vis Vest or Hi Vis Jacket before getting out of your vehicle otherwise you could incur a substantial fine. Now you may think that this only applies to the driver but you’d be wrong. Anyone exiting the vehicle on the hard shoulder must wear a Hi Vis Vest which means all passengers as well.
Your vehicle must have a GB sticker or GB Magnet on it and so must anything you are towing suck as caravan or trailer.
A warning triangle must be carried as standard and must be placed behind the vehicle where safe to do so to warn other road users of the broken down vehicle or accident.
Spare Bulb Kit
When driving in France all vehicle lights must be in full operating condition. If one of your light bulbs isn’t working then you must be in a position to fix it on the spot and therefore a spare bulb kit is the ideal option. Spare bulb kits generally have a selection of different bulbs which fit a variety of cars.
Breathalyzers – Breathalysers
Although carrying a breathalyzer or breathalyser is a legal requirement, the French government are not currently imposing fines for those not carrying them. We do however suggest that you carry them with you as a precaution.
As we’ve said there are a number of other items that we haven’t listed above including your insurance and registration documents but a full list can be found on our driving in France page.
We hope that you find our checklist and information handy and that you’ll never need to ask the question “What do I need to drive in France?” again!