Foreigners driving in France – whether its their own car or a hire car from France need to know the rules of what documentation and items to carry in the car that are mandatory.
Not having the correct documentation or items in the car can mean you are subject to fines if stopped by the police and you fail to meet the criteria.
Driving in France checklist
When driving in France there is a requirement to carry your Passport, driving licence, insurance documents, registration documents and MOT (UK). If you live in France you also need to carry similar documentation. Some insurers recommend that you carry the documentation on you instead of leaving it in the glove box – if the car is stolen then you may have problems dealing with claims if you can’t lay your hands on the relevant paperwork.
Headlamp beam converters as appropriate (eg UK cars) – this is because right hand drive cars have headlamps pointing towards the left. When in France where cars drive on the right – right hand drive cars with unconverted headlamps will shine directly into oncoming traffic.
All vehicles traveling on French roads must carry at least one yellow fluorescent jacket in the car itself – not in the boot (trunk). Many people hang them over the back of the driver seat or passenger seat so they are visible – thereby (it is thought) avoiding a stop by police wanting to check the jacket is easily accessible from INSIDE the vehicle. These jackets must be worn in the event of a breakdown or accident.
A red warning triangle which can be used in the event of an accident or breakdown. If used, it must be set up approximately 30 metres (100 feet) from the car facing oncoming traffic.
A spare set of bulbs and fuses and a first aid kit are not obligatory but highly recommended – you may find it difficult to buy bulbs in rural areas, or out of normal trading hours and you can be fined if a bulb is not working so in our opinion – don’t risk it – take these items with you.
For more rules on driving in France see:
Rules of the Road – Driving in France
Priorité à Droite (priority to the right)