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JDM Foz [sold]
2016 Mercedes E220 AMG Auto
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Discussion Starter #1
Its been a while since i've driven a UK car on the continent as i've always hired one in the country of relevance, has any one got any pointers on whats needed in France and Belgium apart from Insurance, spare bulbs, hi vis jacket, beam deflectors and hi vis triangle. Anything else you need these days?

Looking at doing a day trip or a one nighter to go and see Jean Michel Jarre in Belgium and was thinking whether to drive or fly/drive to brussels. Its about 100k to the venue. I'd goto a venue in France but he seems to be doing a tour of the south of france only! :crazy:
 

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Super Moderator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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17,889 Posts
I know this sounds elementary, but ... pinch yourself every morning to remind yourself to drive on the right! Maybe even put a sign on your steering wheel.

I lived in England for 3 years, and even with that short an exposure to driving on the left I did indeed start down the wrong side of the road one morning in France. Neither my wife nor I noticed anything wrong till we saw this French guy coming straight at us!
 

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Super Moderator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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Fortunately US Forces had Brit plates and GB stickers on our cars, so he blamed you!

The complicated things are easy. It's the instinctive things that get you.
 

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1997 T/tb
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511 Posts
hahahaha! thousands or frenchists have been doing that for thousands of years.
Mike

Down load the PDF from this web site.Compulsory equipment : compulsory equipment for driving in Europe - The AA

I drive in Europe 3 -4 times a month, and have been cought out a few times when i first started this job.

here is a few top tips for european driving!

when you flash your lights at someone on the continent, it means "im Comming" rather than "im going to let you go first" - so be carefull at the mini roundabouts, if someone flashes you, it means they are gonna pull out!

carry all your vehicle documents (MOT, V5 etc), and make a copy of them

download an accident sheet (mine has french and english - i will try to find it tomorrow)

whatever you do, do not take a snooper... it will get you into serious trouble!

Drive with your lights on

Do not speed between the tolls. - they calculate your time between them, and if you get there too early you get a fine! (mine ws €46 on the spot - and escorted to ATM!) - you dont get fined if you run a speed cammera though!

Hi Viz vests - one per person traveling in the car, and must be in the car, and not in the boot.

Hope this helps a little.
 

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JDM Foz [sold]
2016 Mercedes E220 AMG Auto
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4,389 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Mike

Down load the PDF from this web site.Compulsory equipment : compulsory equipment for driving in Europe - The AA

I drive in Europe 3 -4 times a month, and have been cought out a few times when i first started this job.

here is a few top tips for european driving!

when you flash your lights at someone on the continent, it means "im Comming" rather than "im going to let you go first" - so be carefull at the mini roundabouts, if someone flashes you, it means they are gonna pull out!

carry all your vehicle documents (MOT, V5 etc), and make a copy of them

download an accident sheet (mine has french and english - i will try to find it tomorrow)

whatever you do, do not take a snooper... it will get you into serious trouble!

Drive with your lights on

Do not speed between the tolls. - they calculate your time between them, and if you get there too early you get a fine! (mine ws €46 on the spot - and escorted to ATM!) - you dont get fined if you run a speed cammera though!

Hi Viz vests - one per person traveling in the car, and must be in the car, and not in the boot.

Hope this helps a little.
excellent cheers. :Banane35:

I used to drive to germany a lot but havent driven in france for 10 years and knew the rules had changed.
 

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2005 forester sti 6MT
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373 Posts
headlight adjustment ( or blanking the main beam ) is NOT a requirement , never has been - unless you are permanently importing the vehicle. RHD beam pattern can, however dazzle oncoming cars a little so you may want to turn the adjusters down a bit.

Likewise spare bulbs is only a recommendation.

If you are likely to get caught speeding, be aware that if you don't have the cash on you, the vehicle can be confiscated - as, if you don't have a permanent address in France, you can not be prosecuted locally - so instant on the spot fine ( quittance provisoire) applies and you should be prepared to pay this if you are caught. Worth bearing in mind if you get 'tempted' to try a full speed run!

Don't use a laptop or other device with a screen in the car - likely to attract a fine also, this includes any DVD players visible to the driver ( rear screens are ok) or GPS that are not permanently installed in the car - exercise some comon sense when siting a 'stick-on' GPS or place it where only the passenger can see it and you should be ok. If you use a GPS, be aware that the police may think you are trying to avoid fixed speed trap installations - so always say you are only using it for navigation purposes.

You obviously need to have insurance green card but also worthwhile making sure you have the required accident decalaration form ( english translation if you don't speak french) - known as a constat amiable in France - if you have a collision, it is a legal requirement to complete one with each of the third parties - if you end up completing their version it will all be in french, even though the fields and layout are exactly the same in all languages - better to have a UK printed one. Should be some downloadable pdf version online.

its a bit obvious but, try not to leave the car loaded-up anywhere - as it will definitely be broken into - probably applies in UK too - but when travelling it is sometimes hard to avoid and tempting to 'risk it'.

my top tip - take a 'brave' passenger with you who will give you proper advice on whether there is a car coming or not on RN roads when you 'pop out' to see if you can overtake that truck or not! - I get infuriated when 'er indoors says there is something coming when there is enough gap to overtake 4 times with scooby power!


above may sound a bit pessimistic - but, given the run of bad luck you have been having, maybe best to be prepared!
have fun + be safe!


Paul W
 

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97 JDM S/tb Manual
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Do not speed between the tolls. - they calculate your time between them, and if you get there too early you get a fine! (mine ws €46 on the spot - and escorted to ATM!) - you dont get fined if you run a speed cammera though!
This bit is not strictly true. They normal have a bloke with a radar gun hiding in the bushes, zap you without you noticing and then stop you at the toll. Therefore is seems that they timed you through the tolls but in reality they didn't. Not that it helps you mind.
 

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1997 T/tb
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511 Posts
This bit is not strictly true. They normal have a bloke with a radar gun hiding in the bushes, zap you without you noticing and then stop you at the toll. Therefore is seems that they timed you through the tolls but in reality they didn't. Not that it helps you mind.

It Happened to me in Italy too. All the tolls are automated, and it was 0300 in the morning on my way back to the airport in Pisa. Avis Forwarded the fine to me!
 

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1997 T/tb
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511 Posts
like france, only the roads are worse, and the police are more prominent.
Always in a traffic jam unless you travel at night. Antwerp (upto the kennedy tunnel is a nightmare) - driving around Antwerp is tough too, mind out for the tram system, they have dodgy traffic lights that dont make sense!

however i love belgium especially Brugge, its worth stopping off there just for a look around... and some chocolate!
 

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2006 2.0 XE Manual N/A
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1,242 Posts
Don't use a laptop or other device with a screen in the car - likely to attract a fine also, this includes any DVD players visible to the driver ( rear screens are ok) or GPS that are not permanently installed in the car - exercise some comon sense when siting a 'stick-on' GPS or place it where only the passenger can see it and you should be ok. If you use a GPS, be aware that the police may think you are trying to avoid fixed speed trap installations - so always say you are only using it for navigation purposes.
Paul W
Oops, didn't know that. I have "TomTom-ed" my way through France a couple of times recently. :icon_eek:
 
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