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 Driving abroad
Topic Originator: ipswichpar  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 12:54

We've been invited to a wedding in France next summer.

Unfortunately the happy couple have picked a place in the back of beyond and it looks to be a pain to get to. At least an hour or so in a car from the major transport hubs.

I've never driven abroad or in a right hand drive car, and it's not something I'm really keen to change.

Is it easy? Has anyone had a bad experience?
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: PARrot  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 13:03

Its easy unless you are on a busy roundabout. Other than that you will pick it up quickly. Nip up the Fife retail park at night and practise.

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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: widtink  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 13:03

Never done it masel but my late father drove aw the way to Pau in the south of Francelandshireshire... And back again.
He said it was a doddle as long as ye took yer time and had regular stops.
He got those sticker things to go over the headlights too I seem to recall.










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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: kelty_par  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 13:32

If it's a hire car the fact that you're on the opposite side of the car than you're used to makes it easier to remember which side of the road to drive on, where to look at roundabouts etc. As long as you take your time and make sure you understand the road signs etc. you'll find it fairly straightforward I'd imagine. If it's in the back of beyond you're not likely to be on any super stressful motorways or anything like the A86 or Peripherique round Paris so I'd think you'll he fine.
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: Johan_Cruyff  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 13:44

It's easy if you get a local car hire and you sit on the other side

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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: Thaipar  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 13:46

Quote:

ipswichpar, Wed 19 Sep 12:54

We've been invited to a wedding in France next summer.

Unfortunately the happy couple have picked a place in the back of beyond and it looks to be a pain to get to. At least an hour or so in a car from the major transport hubs.

I've never driven abroad or in a right hand drive car, and it's not something I'm really keen to change.

Is it easy? Has anyone had a bad experience?


Last time I was in the UK am sure that is was right hand drive.
Maybe you're taking the wrong kind of medication Ipswich.
Drop me a Drs prescription and I can sort you out 😊😊😊

Please don't book me Admin, it will ruin my life.
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: DulochConvert  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 13:56

I drive a couple of thousand miles every summer in France and haven’t had any problems. Personally I prefer my own car over a hire as even on the wrong side of the car I know exactly were the Passenger width of the car is. Driving in rural roads is actually more tricky the the big manger road (Paris excluded) as the don’t tend to have road marking which cancause you to forget. I will forget for definitely once a holiday in a car park, and have to do the sorry I am foreign wave.
Best is to spend a extra second at every junction to double check you are going onto the correct side. You can buy small see through stickers that you stick on your windscreen as a mental adviser if you feel concerned.
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: ipswichpar  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 14:09

Quote:

Thaipar, Wed 19 Sep 13:46

Quote:

ipswichpar, Wed 19 Sep 12:54

We've been invited to a wedding in France next summer.

Unfortunately the happy couple have picked a place in the back of beyond and it looks to be a pain to get to. At least an hour or so in a car from the major transport hubs.

I've never driven abroad or in a right hand drive car, and it's not something I'm really keen to change.

Is it easy? Has anyone had a bad experience?


Last time I was in the UK am sure that is was right hand drive.
Maybe you're taking the wrong kind of medication Ipswich.
Drop me a Drs prescription and I can sort you out 😊😊😊


Lol 👨‍⚕️
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: Pars Athletic  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 16:29

Drove to france a few times with my own cars over the years. The driving on motorways is pretty easy as you are for the main part just following traffic. As stated above the rural roads have less road signs and take your time at roundabouts but you soon get the hang of it. If you are taking your own car there are some things you need to buy for it to be legal. You need to buy the red triangle incase of a breakdown and you need to buy stickers for your headlights to divert the light from them. This is because its a right hand drive and they point in a direction that will dazzle the other road users as they drive on the other side of road from us. I am pretty sure that you need to have a breathalyser kit in your car too, you can buy all of these online on ebay for not a lot of money.
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: DBS  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 16:29

Remember your Hi Vis jackets, First Aid kit, warning triangle, spare bulbs, fire extinguisher, green card and also 2 x breathalysers, apart from that it's a doddle.
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: Aylesbury_Par  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 16:30

If you are a bit unsure it may be worth hiring an automatic which means you just focus on stop, go & steering which makes it a bit easier.
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: veteraneastender  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 18:19

France has a decent railway network.
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: ipswichpar  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 18:31

Thanks all.

I used the railways across Europe this year vee. Very relaxing and was my preference. Couldn't find a way to get very close to the place but will dig around a bit more.

Hiring an automatic tank sounds like a good plan.
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: PARrot  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 19:49

If you are going to a wedding you will be drinking. Just get taxis. Chill out an enjoy yourself.

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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: DulochConvert  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 20:07

You only Technically need the breathalysers, as the French government never voted what fine was appropriate for not carrying them, so current there isn’t a penalty. I was told in the summer that the need to carry them will be scrapped in the new year.
If you wear glasses you also need a extra set, now how many French do you believe carry all this stuff. Only people I have seen when broken down in Hi-Vi vest are tourists!
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: aaaaaaaaaargh  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 21:13

It's easy enough.
The hardest part is roundabouts but you can just take them a bit slower than usual and you'll be fine.
The other problem I have is punching the door when I want to change gear, but I usually only do that once or twice at the start.

I would avoid driving at night at the start just to give you some time to get used to things. That shouldn't be too difficult in the summer.

Where is the wedding? I guess it is in the south otherwise you could probably take your car across.
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: parbucks  
Date:   Wed 19 Sep 22:52

I drove about 1000 miles in France just over a month ago. Calais to Bordeaux area and thereabouts.
As mentioned, if you are taking your own car there are lots of legal requirements to comply with but which in reality are never required. I have some hi-viz vests and breathalysers going cheap!

If you have a right hand drive car the only things to think about are the protocol at roundabouts, driving in the dark and overtaking.

Driving in France outwith Paris and major cities is a doddle. The motorways and main roads are generally quiet. Cars which overtake will ordinarily pull into the inside lane afterwards but just be aware they will also pull out at the last minute to overtake again! Once you understand the way it works then fine.
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: DBP  
Date:   Thu 20 Sep 09:11

I seem to remember a bizarre junction in Luxembourg where you had to give way to side streets???

I also drove at night on an empty two lane road and drifted towards left hand lane all the time! And pulled out a junction in France and didn't check the correct side (probably should drive abroad thinking about it!)
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: WORST  
Date:   Thu 20 Sep 09:23

I've driven in many places in Europe. The only place I found daunting was central Paris (mind check with your insurance if driving in and around Paris, many won't cover you for driving there)
Driving round the arc de triomphe is one hell of a laxative, apart from that you'll get used to driving there within 10 mins.



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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: ipswichpar  
Date:   Thu 20 Sep 09:35

Quote:

WORST, Thu 20 Sep 09:23

I've driven in many places in Europe. The only place I found daunting was central Paris (mind check with your insurance if driving in and around Paris, many won't cover you for driving there)
Driving round the arc de triomphe is one hell of a laxative, apart from that you'll get used to driving there within 10 mins.


Got a couple of taxis across Paris this summer. Outbound was in the middle of rush hour. Traffic randomly going from 4 lanes to 2 then 1. Taxi driver obviously knew what he was doing but, boy, was that some experience.

Way back was at night with pretty empty roads. Got a completely endearing South East Asian bloke who randomly kept saying "oh, oh God". He's certainly not built for the day shift 😀

Thanks for the insurance tip. Didn't know that.
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: doctordandruff  
Date:   Thu 20 Sep 12:59

Driven abroad tonnes of times. I find getting a left hand drive car means you instinctively drive on the right. Might be just me mind you.
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: LochgellyAlbert  
Date:   Thu 20 Sep 16:31

Diagonal in Barcelona is like dodgems on acid, and as for the wee scooters that swarm like bees. It's great fun, no many cars in Barcelona without scrapes and dents.
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: renegade master  
Date:   Thu 20 Sep 18:26

I have never done it but was told not to because I am subliminal driver doing 60,000 miles a year meaning I give no thought to my driving. (also means I'm prone to falling asleep while driving) Means I spend more time in hotels at night to.

Same as some HGV drivers who will never do foreign runs.

If you get in a car and have to think and need to concentrate you will be fine!
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: McCaig`s Tower  
Date:   Fri 21 Sep 14:12

I’ve driven in the USA, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal (France was a RHD car, the rest LHD)

Lots of good points already said.

Better to have a hire car, as that makes things “more natural”. (Of course, this may mean an argument over insurance, as they will try to tell you that you need extra cover – perhaps check your own insurance policy before you go, and see what you need, and what is a rip-off). You may need a licence with Photo ID.

Rehearse and take care with roundabouts and junctions; there may be usual initial problems with a strange car of where’s reverse, how do the lights work, what fuel does it take etc.

Otherwise, you get used to it pretty quickly. (So much so that I started getting my lefts and rights mixed up – I was using “right” for driver’s side and “left” for passenger’s side, which alarmed my passengers, but I knew what I was doing.

A sat nav (in English) may be useful, as you will inevitably get into the wrong lane in unfamiliar circumstances, and it may be better to go with the flow and turn back rather than make a dangerous manoeuvre. Allow extra time for your journey.

Another idea may be to check your route beforehand on Google Maps.

Finally, learn French for “Diversion” and “Road Closed”.
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 Re: Driving abroad
Topic Originator: DBP  
Date:   Sat 22 Sep 07:56

"Rehearse roundabouts and junctions", that's a great shout... I once picked up a hire car in France and when you left their car park you went straight into a busy set of traffic lights and big roundabout... So before picking up the car I sat and watched others go round a few times and worked out lanes and exits before I went in and picked up the car.

It at least got me off to a good start!

Post Edited (Sat 22 Sep 07:57)
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