Taking my car abroad for the first time - what else do I need?

Found 20th Feb 2011
Hi all,

I'm off to France in a few weeks (thanks to a deal posted here) via ferry in the car. This'll be the first time I've been abroad in my car (Isle of Wight doesn't count!) and was wondering if there's anything I need to do with my car to make it 'legal' over there.

I saw this posted earlier: hotukdeals.com/dea…136
...which includes 'GB' stickers. My licence plates have the blue 'GB' symbols by the reg number, so I assume I won't need stickers?

What exactly are the beam deflectors mentioned? Will I need to fit these for France?

It's only a day trip but perhaps the first of many.

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As we drive on the left and they drive on the right, our lights are set to different angle. I know when I was in Germany with the Army this was part of the BFG/MOT.
I haven't been abroad in a while, but the beam deflectors point the beam in the opposite direction as you may have noticed ours point slightly to the left, but if you were abroad, they need to point slightly to the right. When you come back, don't forget to take them back off! If you do many trips though, do like I did, get some headlamp protectors and fit them to the protectors, so that way you don't need to keep buying deflectors everytime you go as they are use once only.

You'll also need a triangle, bulb kit and possibly a yellow hi-viz jacket for every person in the car, I'm not 100% on the jackets as it differs from country to country. Also, empty the car before you go, because if you get asked to stop for a check then it makes their job quicker and easier and they will generally thank you for it.
high viz deffo

make sure you have euro`s for any speeding /fines

driving licence

first aid kit
Edited by: "dog_cop" 20th Feb 2011
You probably don't need beam deflectors. Some cars have an adjuster on the lights but, if not, and you're only going for a day, don't bother. I've yet to see a French car on UK roads with deflectors. And, you only (legally) need one hi-vis jacket in France.

You should ensure that your insurance gives you full cover while abroad - most just give third party only as standard. It might also be worth getting temporary breakdown cover. You'd be amazed how much it would cost to get your car back to the UK if you did have a breakdown!
I've been going to france for years, you need your headlamp deflectors, depending on what headlamps you have you might want to get your garage if they are an mot station to put these on, as the headlamp aligner will help them to get them fitted spot on, Hi viz vest (poundland) for each passenger & they must be to hand not slung in the boot, I have one in each door pocket, bulb kit,triangle,Passport,copy of all your docs,driving licence,MOT, log book etc etc, makes things easier if you get stopped at a roadside check.GB sticker if you number plates don't already have the GB euro symbol on them, we have a small fire extinguisher as well. travel insurance & breakdown insurance as its bloody expensive to get towed back to the ferry port !
I know you say its only a day trip, but if you don't comply, it may be the day you get pulled over !

I know it can be frustrating to go to France with an English car. As a French who leaving in the UK I had the opportunity to go abroad many time with my UK car.
What I can suggest you it's :
- V5 : Very important because French Police wont have any access to DVLA database so can't know if it's you car or not. May result to your car to be seized if not presented. the same applies for the Driving license.
- Insurance : As you may know you insurance does not systematically cover you abroad all the time. Check you policy and if you are cover then ask for the "the abroad insurance certificate" it's a green certificate recognized by French authority. Depending of the officer you're simple motoring insurance certificate can be refused as it doesn't include with country is covered by your policy.
-Beam Converters : this is a plastic stick you put on your head front light. As we drive on the left side of the road, your head light will project the light more on your left (nearside) than your right (offside). As you will drive in france on the right side of the road this light will hurt people on the opposite side of the road on your left. I thinks it's the most important thing to buy and put on your car because French policeman wont give you any chance.
Florescent Jacket : by the law, it's now mandatory to have a Florescent Jacket and Warning Triangle in your car in France. If you're stop by police and do not have this with you, you will be fined.
For the spare bulb, I suggest you to have one with you. If, again, you're stop by the police and have one faulty bulb they will let you change and not fine you.

Once again, driving in France is not easy, but French authority is cool with UK driver (may be because they can't speak a word in French :-) )

Also put in mind that if you're caught in France because of a serious offence, you will have to pay in cash / card as they wont otherwise be able to fine you. Again, have some money ready. well, this is not what I wish you but it's good to have that in mind.

But to avoid any trouble with them just have all the document ready.
Lots of good info here chaps . I knew about the lamps , deflectors and triangle but not about a few other things.

Three of us did the beer run to Calais about 10 years ago in an Ford Escort . We just got off the ferry ,onto the motorway to drive to the cash and carry . Halfway down the road there was a bang ,we looked back on the road ..............................there was bits of gearbox casing ,cogs ,oil spewed out all over the place .What a nightmare , I kid you not . We dont speak French and were stuck by the side of the road .

Were still there yet , please help us !!

No ,we got towed to a French garage ,then back to the ferry terminal , we hired a car for the rest of the day and ferried our beer from C&C to the car all day .The back suspension was well down .We were once again towed onto the ferry for our return trip and waiting at Dover was a hire car courtesy of the AA . One of the chaps was in the AA and by making a phone call in France everything was aranged . The escort , beer and all was delivered back to the door on a flatbed truck .What a trip .

Get your car checked over and maybe a service , ring around the likes of the AA or RAC for a deal . It will be well worth if the worst should ever happen .
Beam Converters
Warning Triangle
Hi-Vis jacket (i think you need one for every person in the car)
Spare Bulbs

V5 (copy of)
Copy of all car documents

Cash for booze
Car keys

Edited by: "Jetpac" 20th Feb 2011
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