Before you head to the Continent, be sure you are aware of the French rules of the road - both new and old.
- The use of hands-free sets is now BANNED when driving a car. This means all hands-free usage, not just phones. (However, the small print says you can still use your phone when the hands-free system is dashboard-based or bluetooth).
TIP: Let your passenger make the "We're lost and can't find the Gite" call!
- Un-marked police cars are now roaming the French highways fitted with speed cameras. All very secretive! They can even detect and photograph speedsters in the opposite lane.
TIP: The unmarked police cars are pretty much guaranteed to be French marques - Renault, Peugeot or Citreon. So that means 95% of the cars on the road!
- If you're new to driving (under 3 years experience), the drink drive limit is now 0.02%.
TIP: Don't even have the one if you're a novice driver.
- Usage of speed camera detectors is NOT allowed. All such radars should be switched off from sat navs before entering France.
TIP: Not worth the risk. You can drive faster on the toll roads than British motorways anyway so best to not go speed-silly and just keep an eye out for the little boxes. Remember - they don't have to warn you of upcoming cameras in France.
- Breathalysers, reflective jackets and a warning triangle must be carried in all cars.
TIP: There doesn't seem to be any reinforcement of this law and no fines are made so don't panic too much if you're without and leaving tomorrow!
- Headlamp converters (otherwise known as stickers) must be fitted to all cars for driving on the right.
TIP: Get them on Amazon now to avoid expensive ferry/train terminal shops
- Children should be 10 or older to legally sit in the front seat of a car (with the exception of rear-facing baby seats)
TIP: Just keep your little royalty in the back where they should be.
The general message is to just keep alert and remember you're in a different country - different rules apply. The ease of getting to France and being in the comfort of your own car does make it easier to forget.
And who wants to get stopped by the scary Gendarmes? Not me!