Family road trips are a fantastic way to make memories together, whether it’s taking a short trip to grandma’s house for the day or traveling to Europe through the Channel Tunnel for a summer break, a road trip with the family is a fun and great way to save on the cost of trips for the entire family. However, when you are traveling with abroad, there are few things you will think about before you hit the road!
If you’re travelling through the Channel Tunnel, you’ll be travelling to another country, with different laws- so make sure you are aware of the additional requirements! Since France is your first stop, here are a few key bits to remember in France…
Be sure to have proof of ownership and tax, headlamp converters, traffic warning triangle, spare bulbs, hi-vis vest, GB sticker and a breathalyser! Well breathalysers are a legal requirement in France- they won’t fine you if you don’t have one. Since these item’s aren’t usually in your car boot in the UK there are retail outlets that let you purchase a “Driving in France Kit” – one less thing you have to think about!
The Other Side!
Remember you’re driving on the other side of the road! You might be a bit weary at first, but once you get on the road it will feel like second nature! Just make sure to give some extra attention to turns and roundabouts to make sure you are heading in the correct direction.
Roads, Motorways & Tolls
Motorways/Autoroutes in France have the prefix ‘A’. Most are toll roads and are marked by blue signs, although the Autoroute sections through cities are normally toll free. The free Autoroutes are marked by green signs.
Be prepared at the beginning of toll sections to take the ticket which records where you entered the toll road and then to pay when leaving the toll section at the “peage”. It’s worth having some small denominations of Euros available for this!
Main roads are designated Route Nationale or “N” roads, can be acceptable for long journeys as an alternative to toll roads. You can’t travel as fast on these, but they are often straight and un-crowded and are a nice alternative to the toll roads.
Minor roads are classed as ‘D’ roads. Sometimes they can be quite acceptable routes when travelling in a locality, especially in busy areas such as the Dordogne or Côte D’Azur. But they are not to be recommended for travelling long distances.
Priorité à Droite
This famous feature of French driving etiquette still causes confusion today despite it being less common in present day. The problem is this: If you are driving along a road, anyone joining that road from your right hand side has priority over you. They don’t have to stop, you do…..even if you are travelling at speed!
Offically the Priorité à Droite rule no longer applies unless clearly signposted. However the reality is that not every Frenchman (or woman!) follows the new legislation!
While driving through small villages and in the country, you will often find that on minor roads priorité à droite is still assumed. So again, slow down, keep your eyes wide open and be ready to be courteous (but don’t expect any thanks!).
You can avoid start your driving holiday through Europe off well-rested by spending the night at the Holiday Inn Express Folkestone Channel Tunnel, to get a good night sleep and a filling breakfast before you head off on your memory making holiday!