PDA

View Full Version : Towing caravan in Europe with UK licence question


Andy Rylance
4th Sep 2008, 23:21
Ok question - I cannot find the answer so far on google....

If you DON'T have the UK additional endorsement to tow (a caravan or trailer) on your licence because it is the newer type can you still legally drive in European countries and tow a caravan?

I cannot find an answer, I assume different countries have different rules. Reason is group of us may go abroad with trailer, but we have a young en with us who has not got the towing endorsement on her licence, but once we get to France etc - what is the deal?!

Any web references people can find would be helpful!

Cheers

Blues&twos
4th Sep 2008, 23:47
As the UK driving licence also licences you to drive in Europe without any additional paperwork (take a look at the top bit of the photocard - "driving licence" is translated into different languages), I would be pretty certain that if the endorsement to tow is not shown on the licence, you're not licenced to tow anywhere in Europe. Presumably that's the point of the individual endorsements!

It wouldn't be worth the risk in my opinion. It only takes one minor accident/traffic stop and you may well discover your insurance is void and the driver is open to prosecution. You might even have your vehicle seized....

Lon More
5th Sep 2008, 00:29
Looking at my Dutch licence; two separate categories, B (for the car) and BE (for car + trailer) so agree with Blues&twos.

An international licence might solve the problem. Have you checked with the Caravan club. I'd imagine they wold know best. Don't just swan off hoping for the best, the frogs, in particular "les vaches qui roulent", can be very unforgiving

Howard Hughes
5th Sep 2008, 01:01
Geez you Euronentals have got it bad, an endorsement to tow a trailer/caravan? Oh puleeeze...;)

Although having seen the Top gear episode where James May tows a caravan, I can understand why!:}

Beatriz Fontana
5th Sep 2008, 06:55
Don't forget that this year you have to have a high-vis jacket or suchlike in your vehicle if you drive through France. The French police are stopping and advising British motorists for a few months but will fine from the start of 2009.

airborne_artist
5th Sep 2008, 09:25
Solution - get a caravan that's less than 750 kg - PM me for more info!

angels
5th Sep 2008, 09:34
Beatriz - Re the high viz jacket, they were fining around Calais back at the beginning of August (I had mine).

Also, the jacket has to be carried in the car, not in the boot. Mine was in the boot, but the nice flic let me off that since he was surprised I'd got one in the first place (this was near Grenoble).

gearontheglide
5th Sep 2008, 09:34
About the Hi Viz jackets in France. They need to be in the body of the car and not in the boot along with the light bulbs / fuses / triangle / first aid kit. You need to be able to don the jacket as soon as you leave the vehicle, not having furkled for 5 minutes under a holiday load of luggage. Also, I believe you need 2 jackets. Was in France on hols this summer and S-I-L who lives there advised this was the case.

Fast typing Angels!

Effluent Man
5th Sep 2008, 11:35
Was surprised by the hi-vis law.The French seem to hang them over the passenger seat presumably to avoid the trouble of being stopped.While Les Bureaux Francais can be hot I was pulled in Epernay for (allegedly) speeding.It was 1pm and I pretended I knew no French. One guy wanted to book me but his two colleagues kept telling him they would miss lunch if he did that. Result!

(Although I did thank them in my best French as I left)

Firestorm
5th Sep 2008, 11:38
As far as I'm concerned you are welcome to get the caravan off our roads, and onto theirs! I won't say anything about the paperwork trivia if you don't!

OFSO
5th Sep 2008, 13:33
One small point - the French police don't like SatNavs with preprogrammed speedtrap locations. I know of cases where these have been confiscated from foreign cars (British, always the British).

And if they are really annoyed, tinted glass can get you in trouble, too, because tinted glass in France is allowed only behind the B-pillar, so not on windscreen or driver's/passenger's windows.

If you ever get stopped, treat French police with courtesy and that's the way they will behave back to you. Oh, and carry enough cash to pay on-the-spot fines.

R

Lon More
5th Sep 2008, 13:49
I believe you need 2 jackets

I think it's one for every person in the car.

spekesoftly
5th Sep 2008, 15:16
REFLECTIVE JACKETS & WARNING TRIANGLES IN FRANCE (18 July)


A law concerning the compulsory carrying of a reflective jacket (EN471) and a warning triangle (ECE R27) in France came into force on 1st July 2008. However, this regulation will not be enforceable with on-the-spot fines until 1st October 2008, when the fine will be between €90 and €135.

The French Road Safety Department has today confirmed that:

From 1st October 2008 all drivers in France, including drivers of vehicles registered outside of France, must have one warning triangle and one reflective jacket in their vehicle.

However, we've recently heard reports via our port shops of some British motorists experiencing difficulties and being fined for not carrying reflective jackets. We therefore strongly recommend that motorists visiting France now carry a triangle and at least one reflective jacket inside the car.

airship
5th Sep 2008, 16:40
One small point - the French police don't like SatNavs with preprogrammed speedtrap locations. I know of cases where these have been confiscated from foreign cars (British, always the British). I find that somewhat difficult to digest. Primarily, because all fixed radar location in France are already on a number of highly-visible and official websites.

What are definitely illegal here in France are any form of radar / speed-trap type detectors that may be bought here in France legally, but whose use is completely illegal and, should you actually use them, will result in their immediate confiscation and heavy penalties etc. - this probably has more to do with the mobile speed-traps which are in place for often only 10s of minutes or a couple of hours. Usually well-signalled in advance by all the vehicles travelling in the opposite direction flashing their lights at you in warning. I believe that these same drivers are the very same who drive without a valid licence or at least without valid insurance.

One of the easiest ways to get someone to do an emergency handbrake turn here in France is to flash your lights at them leading them to believe that there is a speed-trap / control point up ahead around the corner... :E Bit of a shame, because they tend to be some of the most careful drivers about the place these days (well, you would drive more carefully if you didn't have a valid licence or insurance), wouldn't you...?! :8

Newforest2
5th Sep 2008, 17:07
Continuing the total thread divergence, if the law says you have to have a Hi-viz in the car, does it also tell you where and when you have to wear it or does possession of one complete the purpose of the law?

DBisDogOne
5th Sep 2008, 17:49
Photocard licences are Europe-wide, so no B+E (trailers over 750kg) here means you can't do it anywhere else either. If you passed your driving test prior to 1997 I think, it will be included and towing (>750kg) in europe is fine.

As an addition to the SatNav/speed camera issue in France and almost all other countries in Europe, apparantly, the POI (Points of Interest) function is illegal too and there've been a fair few cases recently of UK drivers having their SatNavs confiscated as well as a hefty fine being levied. So these functions will need to be disabled, if not, I'd not use it, esp. in France.

Al Fakhem
6th Sep 2008, 17:52
Re tinted autoglass on continent

According to ECE directive R43, all windscreens and front side windows may not be tinted beyond 70% light permeability. Rear side windows and rear window may be tinted up to 0% light permeability, provided the vehicle is fitted with exterior rear view mirrors on either side.

I would have thought this directive applies to the UK, too?

angels
6th Sep 2008, 18:08
spekesoftly - fascinating snippet from the AA.

As I said earlier I know les flics were after les GBs around Calais as I saw people being pulled and fined and heard a couple of people talking about it in a motorway service station further south. A mate of mine was among those fined.

So does this mean he can get his money back? :}

Blues&twos
6th Sep 2008, 19:25
Al Fakhem, I know the 70% light permeability bit applies in the UK, so I assume the rest of it does too. Some, if not all of the traffic police carry a meter which can be used to check light attenuation through suspect glass.

621andy
6th Sep 2008, 20:08
If the licence was issued before jan(?) 1997, the trailer bit is automatically on it, otherwise you need to do a course and test. Called a 'Permis E'(pronounced 'permee eurrr') in French.

Applies to all towers of trailers over 750kg in France.

We have problems finding crew for our balloons for this very reason...

Don't even think about trying to get away with driving without one:=

airship
7th Sep 2008, 11:57
As an addition to the SatNav/speed camera issue in France and almost all other countries in Europe, apparantly, the POI (Points of Interest) function is illegal too and there've been a fair few cases recently of UK drivers having their SatNavs confiscated as well as a hefty fine being levied. So these functions will need to be disabled, if not, I'd not use it, esp. in France. DBisDogOne and OFSO (and for anyone else) interested in the legality of using satnav / GPS and speed camera detection devices in France:

1) From the French embassy in UK (http://www.ambafrance-uk.org/Cannonball-racers-arrested-by-the.html#sommaire_1): Speed camera detection device in FranceFollowing a lot of letters and emails sent to the Embassy regarding legislation in France on speed camera detection devices, please note that, under articles L413-2 and R413-15 of the French ‘Code de la Route’ (highway code), it is strictly forbidden to have such devices in cars in France, regardless of whether or not they are in use (see below: penalties can include fines of up to €3,000, confiscation of the device and of the vehicle).

This legislation does not apply to satellite navigation systems (SatNav or GPS). These can tell motorists only the location of fixed speed cameras, data which is already in the public domain.

2) From the UK's AA website (http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/overseas/radar-detectors-in-france.html): Under articles L413-2 and R413-15 of the French 'Code de la Route' (highway code), it is strictly forbidden to have such devices in cars in France, regardless of whether or not they are in use. Penalties can include fines of up to €3,000, confiscation of the device and of the vehicle.

This legislation does not apply to satellite navigation systems (SatNav or GPS). These can tell motorists only the location of fixed speed cameras, data which is already in the public domain.

BTW, the 2nd link was provided for the benefit of any Europhobes... ;)

PS. Called a 'Permis E'(pronounced 'permee eurrr') in French. Arrrrrrrr, that would be the way someone from Devon / Cornwall would pronounce it... :ok: