Planning a road trip to France? Here's what you need to know

The thought of a summer road trip with the girls is currently getting us through the working day so now's the time to start planning where to go.

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, a recent uSwitch survey revealed 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.

With the majority of our customers' accidents abroad happening in France during 2015, it's a good idea to get to know those driving laws before packing up the car!

If you're thinking of heading over, here are our top tips:

  • Diamond has you covered - your policy automatically covers you driving abroad for trips which don't exceed 30 consecutive days or 90 days throughout the policy as a whole. To be on the safe side you should take your insurance certificate along with you and if you're a new driver, or under the age of 25, you should check with the DVLA to confirm you're able to drive abroad
  • Banish the booze - having a drink on holiday is almost compulsory and a trip to France without wine would be disappointing, but if you plan on driving the morning after a night out then stick to the soft drinks. The French drink-drive limit is 0.5mg per ml, lower than the 0.8mg per ml limit in the UK
  • The French are righties - they may be our closest European neighbours but they don't drive on the left like us. Remember to stick to the right and don't get caught out!
  • Carrying a breathalyser is mandatory - in the uSwitch survey, just 17% of respondents knew a working breathalyser has to be in the car with them at all times when driving in France. These are cheap and easy to find online or in shops like Halfords
  • Emergency triangles - you must pack a warning triangle which you'll need to put out in the event of a breakdown or accident
  • Bright waistcoats are a must - no it's not a bizarre French fashion trend, as well as your breathalyser and warning triangle you'll also need to pack a reflective jacket or waistcoat.

Can I claim abroad?

We all know accidents can happen wherever you are and for our customers, 716 of reported accidents in 2015 happened abroad.

In case you were wondering, it seems men were the most accident-prone while abroad last year; they were involved in 476 accidents compared to 240 women.

With 346 claims during 2015, France was the place with the highest rate of accidents.

Aside from the fact it may put a bit of a dampener on your trip, making a claim while abroad isn't that different from claiming at home and you'll still need to let us know straight away.

The main difference is the fact you'll need to fill in the Agreed Statement of Facts on Motor Vehicle Accident form, you'll need to print a copy (found here) before you go.

It's called the Constat Amiable in France and the version you'll be given by the third party will be in French but you can use the English version you've printed out to guide you through.

The form gives you the chance to get your version of events across but be careful, 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.

As with any accident, 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 0333 220 2037 and our friendly advisor will let you know what to do next. Let us know where you're heading by tweeting @DiamondForGirls or posting to Facebook.

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