Driving in France and beyond

Driving in France and beyond

Get ready for driving in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and beyond with the essentials for going behind the wheel in a new country.
What you'll need
Make sure you have the right documents before you drive in France. These may differ depending on where your driving license was issued.
For UK drivers in France and beyond, you’ll need:
  • Your full driving license
  • Proof of insurance
  • The original Vehicle Registration Document (V5)
  • If the vehicle you are driving is borrowed, hired, leased, or a company car, you’ll need a Vehicle on Hire Certificate (VE103).
  • A UK sticker for your vehicle – you can pick one up at the Folkestone terminal AA shop.
For European drivers in the UK, you'll need:
  • Proof of insurance

When driving in France, you must also have an approved high-viz reflective jacket and a warning triangle stored in your vehicle (not in the boot), and you should adjust your headlights to drive on the right. On-the-spot fines can apply if you are stopped and do not have the legally required equipment.

The AA Shop in our Folkestone Terminal is handy for any forgotten equipment such as UK stickers and headlight kits.

If you're planning to drive in one of the Low Emission Zones in France, you will need to buy a Crit'Air Sticker and display it on your windscreen. If you're found without one in a restricted area, you can be fined. You can buy your sticker from the official Crit'Air website. It can take 6 weeks to receive so it's worth planning ahead.

Tips for driving in Europe

Driving in France and beyond
In many EU countries, including France, cars drive on the right hand side of the road. You will need to adjust your mirrors and lights if you are driving a vehicle that has the steering wheel on the right side of the car.

The maximum speed on motorways is 130kph (80mph) and 110kph (68mph) in poor weather conditions, with lower speeds on other road types. Be prepared for charges at booths at the exits of some motorways in France – it helps to have Euros or your payment card ready.

In-car radar and speed camera detectors are illegal to carry in the vehicle so if you have one, leave it at home.

It's forbidden to use a mobile phone with or without earphones while driving, unless using it with a bluetooth enabled hands-free kit.

For more information about the requirements for driving in France, read our handy guide
Driving in the UK
In the UK, cars drive on the left hand side of the road. You'll need to adjust your mirrors and lights if you are driving a vehicle that has the steering wheel on the left side of the car.

The National Speed Limit is 60mph (96kph), rising to 70mph (112kph on motorways). Speed limits are lower on other road types.

For the latest advice on driving abroad safely, check the European Commission's guide.
Staying safe on the road
Do not drink and drive. Laws and penalties differ by country, but the safest option is to avoid taking unnecessary risks.

Make sure you and your passengers wear seatbelts while driving, and that young children and babies are safely secured in suitable car-seats.

We recommend taking a spare bulb kit, first aid kit and fire extinguisher in the boot of your car, in case of a roadside emergency, in addition to the mandatory items for driving in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

Make sure you're covered

We strongly recommend you and your passengers take out travel insurance to cover you in case anything happens while you're away. We have insurance options for every kind of traveller, you so can stay protected and travel on your terms. You can add travel insurance when you book online.