We’re all going on a Summer holiday!

17 Jun

As the summer holidays approach, you may be considering driving in Europe.  This article includes several tips about safe driving in both France and Germany.  Remember you must comply with the rules of every country you drive through.

Driving in France

In France 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. The French government have postponed the fine for non compliance but you still have to have one.

Remember too, that the drink drive limit in France is lower than in the UK, 50mg compared to 80mg per 100ml of blood. If you’re driving, don’t drink, and beware the morning after effect.

On-the-spot fines or ‘deposits’ in France are severe. An official receipt should always be issued. Vehicles parking contrary to regulations may be towed away and impounded.

Holders of EU driving licenses exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 km/h will have their licences confiscated on the spot by the police.

You are required to carry a warning triangle, reflective jacket, and convert your headlamps when driving in France.  It is recommended that you carry spare light bulbs if you can fit them easily.

Driving on the right hand side of the road on unknown routes can be rather challenging. Take regular breaks, and always have a rest if you’re getting sleepy.

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).

While radar speed camera detectors are legal in the UK, in France they are illegal whether or not you are using them. This legislation includes satnav systems which show speed camera information.

Driving in Germany

While some autobahns (motorways) are free of speed restrictions, this is only on parts of the network. Where there are speed limits posted, they are strictly enforced.

Remember that the drink drive limit is lower in Germany, 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (rather than 80 mg in the UK) – this could be especially crucial when considering the ‘morning after’ effect.

To park in Germany you need to buy a blue parking disc (parkscheibe), available at service stations, and parking vouchers (parkschein). Parking meters are also common.

Radar speed camera detectors are illegal in Germany, whether or not you are using them. Penalties include fines of up to €1500.

During daylight, you must use dipped headlights or daytime running lights if your vision is impaired by fog, snow or rain.

You should carry a warning triangle, set of bulbs and a first aid kit, although these are only compulsory for residents. And don’t forget your GB sticker.

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