18 October 2012

Driving In France

Posted By Happy Homemaker

Imagine my surprise
when I learned we needed a driving kit
to legally drive in France

Europeans know,
but American readers may be asking themselves

 'driving kit'

Sold by Amazon

Safety vest (inside car, not in trunk)
Warning triangle
Extra lightbulbs for lamps
First aid kit
Fire extinguisher
GB sticker for plates not already indicating British registration

Headlamp Converters
(something about driving on the other side of the road
requires that you change out the lights
as it may 'dazzle' oncoming traffic?)

And required as of July 2012, two breathalyzer test kits

If you wear corrective lenses,
it's the law to carry a spare pair of glasses
 even if you wear contact lenses

Penalty for not having these items if stopped by police?
On the spot fine (cash only) or suffer your car being impounded

Thank goodness I now have the common European signs under my belt
but I quickly learned there were a few French road signs omitted
in the extra credit section of my UK driver's test

This mysterious 'x marks the spot' 
indicates you are either nearing buried treasure or 
you are coming to a junction and the right has the right of way

The diamond indicates the main road has priority
The crossed out priority means the traffic on the right has priority
(or a seatbelt is hugging the sign)

Shouldn't this get some kind of violence rating?

You can imagine when I saw all these goodies
it just sang
blog post 


Wendy said...

I am stunned, lol...seriously!! A vest? And an extra pair of glasses??? Breathlizer?? Yikes...I only have one pair of glasses so I guess I won't be driving in France ;o) I won't even say anything about the road signs as they make no sense whatever to me!! Give me a horse and cart, please!!

Barbara said...

Funny how as an American driving in France I didn't think this was weird at all. Except for the right having priority, that takes some getting used to.

greenthumb said...

Do you have room for the kids? With all the things you need to take.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

If I remember correctly, no safety equipment is required in American cars. I'm glad you commented - I hoped you would :)

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

Actually, this is quite a sensible pack to have! Guess what Mr B will be doing at the weekend!!! Ada :)

Dave D said...

In the "good old, bad old days" the headlamp converter was a small strip of black electrical insulating tape, which if placed correctly cut out the part of the headlight beam that blinded oncoming drivers.

Dave D said...

In the "good old, bad old days" the headlamp converter was a small strip of black electrical insulating tape, which if placed correctly cut out the part of the headlight beam that blinded oncoming drivers.

Sarah said...

In fact it's only the high-viz vest, triangle and breathalyser which are obligatory (plus stuff for foreign cars). The first aid kit etc are recommended but you won't be fined if you don't have them:

Rosemary said...

It has put me off taking the car to France!!! I will travel on their high speed trains instead.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Hi Sarah, thank you for clarifying! The breathalyzer is still a head-scratcher for me... In contrast, nothing (except for documents) are required in the US.

Tammy Chrzan said...

Remind me to take the coach to France!!

Bonnie said...

Does this apply to rental cars?

Sandra said...

I find that the driving kits are really useful! Though apparently, the breathalyser kits aren't very reliable and need to be replaced regularly otherwise they don't work at all!!!
A warning triangle is also obligatory in Switzerland and I recently purchased a bright yellow jacket for safety in case of an accident. I always have a torch in my glove compartment in case of a breakdown at night and keep a 1st aid kit too, but don't have extra specs or breathalyser kit! Some things are just common sense and others seem just a little exaggerated and superfluous!
Good luck with your French adventure!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

I assume it does - the driving kit already will be in the car, which helps :) Also, if you take the Eurostar from England to Calais, Avis is on-site. We had to take a taxi to Hertz (no shuttle service), so next time we'll use Avis for sure.