I’m taking my car to France this summer for a trip to the Dordogne. It’s years since I last drove there and I’ve heard there are lots of new rules. Jonathan, Andover
Yes there are lots of new rules about driving in France. Firstly, you of course need to inform your insurance company in the UK to make sure you’re covered. And while you no longer need to paint your headlights yellow, you will need to use headlight deflectors if you’re using a right-hand drive car. It’s a €90 fine if you don’t. Similarly a clear GB sticker is needed.
You now also have to carry certain safety equipment – a yellow hi-viz vest and a warning triangle. Failing to have either of those will land you with a €135 fine. Another thing to pack will be spare bulbs. And if you wear glasses, you need to bring a second pair.
The tricky one is the introduction in 2012 of a law saying you have to carry a breathalyser in the car. While this is still law, the €11 fine was scrapped in 2013. Another thing to remember is that single-use breathalysers expire within a year, so you won’t be able to use it the following summer. Don’t forget the drink drive limit is lower than the UK.
There’s another little-known law in France. It’s illegal to use a speed camera detector, but what many Brits don’t realise is that sat nav devices showing the location of fixed speed cameras are also banned. You need to disable this function before you drive.