Driving tips for trips to France

If you're considering a driving holiday this year - but don't want to head too far afield - you might look at popping over the Channel to France. You should be aware of some new laws and regulations in place concerning the items and equipment you need to have in your car.

Drivers must be at least 18, and need to have their full licence (card and paper), their insurance documents and the vehicle registration documents. You're also required to put a GB sticker on the bumper of your car if this isn't part of your number plate.

A warning triangle, high-vis jacket and breathalyser must all be in the vehicle if you're stopped or asked to produce them. A change to the law in January 2013 has postponed the on-the-spot fine for not having a breathalyser, but you'll still need to have at least one with you.

As soon as you arrive in France, remember to start driving on the 'other' side of the road. In most European countries you'll drive on the right and not the left. Alongside your legal obligations, this is the most important thing to remember to avoid accidents.

For drivers unfamiliar with French roads, a sat nav is always useful. One thing to keep in mind is that it's illegal to carry any device that can detect and identify speed cameras. Check whether your sat nav can do this, disable the function if you can, and if in doubt don't take the device with you - ignorance of the function isn't an excuse.

There's also no clear information on whether this applies to paper atlases with cameras marked on them.

As you're on holiday, you might be tempted to relax with a drink during a meal or in the evening. French drink-drive limits are much lower than in the UK, and penalties for being caught are more severe. The best course of action is always to avoid alcohol completely when you're driving, and to only indulge once you know you've parked up for the day.

To pick out a new or approved used car for your next drive across Europe, visit Lookers. We can suggest the most suitable family car, estate or tourer that meets your needs.