Driving in France - the facts
If the thought of a road trip with the girls is getting you through the working day then now's the time to start planning.
And if you're anything like us, then you might be dreaming of heading to France and hitting the open road, stopping in beautiful villages to sample cheese along the way.
However, with a recent uSwitch survey revealing one in three UK and Irish drivers are unaware you have to drive on the right hand side of the road in France, and three quarters unaware the drink drive limit is higher in the UK than France, it might be time to brush up on the driving laws before setting off.
With summer coming we decided to take a look at what our own customers get up to when driving abroad and where they're most likely to get into a spot of bother.
Our stats reveal the majority of customer claims abroad in 2015 were in France, so if you're planning a driving trip there, here's everything you need to know.
- You're covered - your Admiral policy will cover you for driving abroad as long as your trip doesn't exceed 30 consecutive days (90 of the year as a whole) but make sure to take your certificate of insurance with you. If you've not been driving long or are under the age of 25 you'll need to check with the DVLA if you are unsure whether you can drive abroad
- They drive on the right in France - as close as we are to our European friends they do things differently when it comes to which side of the road to drive on. Don't get caught out!
- Stay clear of alcohol - obviously it's nice to have a drink or two when you're on your hols but if you have to drive to get to your destination it's best to avoid the booze altogether. At 0.5mg per ml the French drink drive limit is lower than the UK limit of 0.8mg per ml so be extra careful when driving the day after a drink
- Take a breather - according to the uSwitch survey, only 17% of respondents were aware they needed to have a working breathalyser in the car with them at all times. Don't worry you can pick these up quite cheaply online or from shops like Halfords
- Warning signs - you'll need to make sure you have a warning triangle to put up just in case you breakdown or get into a bump
- Dress accordingly - in addition to the breathalyser and warning triangle you'll also need a reflective jacket or waistcoat.
What about claiming abroad?
Accidents happen no matter where you go; in fact, during 2015, our customers reported 716 of them. Out of those, 476 involved men and 240 involved female drivers.
France was the most likely spot for an accident to occur when one of our customers was abroad and there were 346 claims there during 2015.
Claiming while you're abroad isn't too different to being in the UK and you'll need to let us know as soon as the incident occurs.
One big difference when claiming in Europe is the fact you'll need to fill out the Agreed Statement of Facts on Motor Vehicle Accident form, you'll need to print a copy (found here) before you go.
The form is known as the Constat Amiable in France and the version you fill in will be in French - the version you print off can be used as a guide to help you fill out the form given to you by the third party.
Filling this in allows you to get your version of events across but beware, signing anywhere on the form without ticking any of the boxes in section 12 means you're agreeing with the third party's version of events.
Just like in the UK be sure to get the name and insurance details of the other driver and any passengers, photos of the incident and damage if you are able, and the registration of the other vehicle. If the accident involves a lorry you'll need the registration of both the trailer and cab.
If you do need to make a claim, just call us on 0800 600 840 and our friendly advisor will let you know what to do next.
For more advice about driving abroad this summer check out our in-depth guide.