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Subject Topic: Driving Abroad
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Message posted by Val A18/10/2007 at 4:41pm
Outfit:  Swift Speedbird 490 Mondeo Estate     Location:  West - North Yorkshire
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Speed limits are the same towing as not towing, unless the car/trailer combination weighs more than 3,500 kgs.  See also the AA website for details http://www.aaroadwatch.ie/eumotoring/speed.asp

Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by The 2 Tops22/12/2007 at 11:49am
Outfit:  Swift Challenger Sport 524 VW Carave     Location:  None Entered
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Quote: Originally posted by Val A on 18/10/2007


Speed limits are the same towing as not towing, unless the car/trailer combination weighs more than 3,500 kgs.  See also the AA website for details http://www.aaroadwatch.ie/eumotoring/speed.asp
In France, the speed limits are reduced when towing, in a similar manner to that for the UK.

Built up areas (no change).  Single carriageway(90 solo / 80 towing)  Dual carriageway(110 solo / 100 towing)  Motorway(130 solo / 110 towing)   Figures in kph.

We have a friend who is an ex-HGV driver, and has driven regularly on the continent.  He tells me that, when driving a r.h.drive vehicle, you are not allowed to overtake anything (even a tractor at 15 kph) on a two way road.

Bertie.



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The 2 Tops

Message posted by Big_Mike01/1/2008 at 5:03pm
Outfit:  Ci 620 Motorhome on Ford chassis     Location:  Near Bremen Germany
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Not true about the overtaking, I'm afraid.

Mike

Message posted by PhilW21/1/2008 at 7:50pm
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"In France, the speed limits are reduced when towing, in a similar manner to that for the UK."

Only, as in your quote from AA, if your combination weighs over 3,500 kgs. Quite a big combo that.

Never heard the one about RHD not being allowed to overtake - any documentary evidence?


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Message posted by hankmarvin11/2/2008 at 10:25pm
Outfit:  Coleman Coastline 6 Deluxe     Location:  Norwich England
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i done lots of driving last summer all over europe ( see here www.mark-and-jenny.co.uk ) and i found belgium and italy the worst, in belgium they will drop from 120km on a motorway to 50km in a tiny space and exit right in front of you, plus the give way to right business caught me out a few times.

italy is just a bit lively, loads and loads of beeping, lol and if they dont like what your doing they'll let you know

but its all fun.


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Message posted by Frogman1412/2/2008 at 11:29am
Outfit:  Touring caravan.     Location:  Lancashire
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Nearly 12 months on from the original post, and not a lot seems to have occured. Still think the "priority from the right" is one of the biggest potential hazards to the unwary when driving in urban areas.

 Someone above said the French are rubbish on roundabouts, and this is true. They tend to approach the roundabout slower than we do. It means one has to watch the car in front rather than look at what is coming round the roundabout to avoid the " I thought you had driven off " situation when you tail end the guy in front. --- Or at least learn how to say it in French.

The 3,500 kg wt limit is interesting. My outfit is a single axle mid range tourer, and I am pulling with a 4x4 (Economically I hasten to add), I am pretty sure if I put it on a weighbridge I will be at or above the limit. So I will be cruising at even more economic speeds this year.

Interesting to read about Mark and Jenny's trip above, they covered some ground, no doubt with some interesting experiences. Just for a bit of light relief I recount onesuch we had in St Valery en route to Ch Drancourt.

For those who don't know the town, it is a coastal village with fairly narrow streets, a one way system, and in high season, a steam train which runs  up the main street , --just for fun. Because "He who thinks he knows everything" would n't listen to "Her who really knows everything !" we turned right instead of left at the roundabout on arrival, and found ourselves in the midst of a flea market, up a one way street, with caravan on the back, just as the 2.30 pm express to Crotoy was trundling up the main street It was a good lesson in Anglo- French diplomacy. We accepted that we were the "cabaret" for the afternoon, the sun shone, we shrugged the shoulders frequently, everyone laughed a lot (excluding my passenger of course ), and eventually, we emerged unscathed, not least in some small part to the fact that I demonstrated that I could weave a car and caravan through gaps with 1 cm either side thanks to the "Brilliant" directions from the natives.

Point being ? Like Mark says above, Europeans tend to be less stressed about these things than we are. Chill out and enjoy the holidays.


Message posted by hankmarvin12/2/2008 at 12:00pm
Outfit:  Coleman Coastline 6 Deluxe     Location:  Norwich England
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lol thats a funy story frogman.

one of our best was driving to our campsite near antwerp and our satnav took us right through the centre of antwerp which was very busy but our dear satnav also directed us to go in the big bus station right in the middle of the city and it was packed full of people and buses but we were in there so we just had to make our way through and out, but it was all good fun and a relief to get to the site, not the site we were aiming for however.

lol and also just as we got into italy from croatia we were aiming for venice and were getting onto the motorway at treiste or something like that but we took the wrong turning and ended up goin up this tiny cobbled way way way steep road, lol it felt like we were gonna start toppeling over backwards, luckerly we only came across 1 car and he pulled over cuz sure as hell we couldn't over stopped if we had i dunno if the traffic beast wudda got goin again. wud not of wanted to do that with a caravan though.

great fun though


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Message posted by Frogman1413/2/2008 at 10:17am
Outfit:  Touring caravan.     Location:  Lancashire
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Yes I agree with your earlier post re Belgium. That has been the source of most of our disasters. Like looking for RIJSEL, or a town called DOORGAND VERKEER, and the worst being the orange temp signs, which can mean anything. We once passed such a sign, again with van in tow, on a minor road en route to Holland. a mile after the sign we found the road had been completely ripped up and I had to reverse all the way back with "Her outdoors" walking behind me------with a red hankie.

Message posted by Feux Verts13/2/2008 at 10:23pm
Outfit:  Touring Caravan + SUV     Location:  Up North
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Still excellent advice Frogman - as a fellow "Brevedenteur" I've had many similar experiences in Paris and other parts of the country (not to mention the Belgian motorways as well).

No doubt we'll meet on the Pride of Brugges some day soon....

FV

Message posted by wendi4813/3/2008 at 3:41pm
Outfit:  La Rochelle 4 Sunncamp Vario 5.     Location:  Littlehampton
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Can't help feeling we are missing out on something here.  We [2x 50+] drove, for the first time in Europe for both of us, our RHD to southern Germany last Easter in glorious sunshine and with considerate m-way driving [their lane discipline was exemplary].Apart from us [him] telling the satnav to go to La Roche instead of La Roche en Ardenne and finding ourselves heading towards Paris several hours later [our Ardenne visit was a half day diversion from friends in Germany to family in another part of the Ardenne, later the same day] we had so much fun.  We are now planning to repeat the experience and go on to Switzerland, Northern Italy and Austria before returning via our friends in Germany and family in Belgium.  I must say that having an automatic car took [for me] so much pressure off , I didn't have to worry about which gear I was in or whether I was going to stall it and have someone rear end me.  Although the funniest thing was that, him, suddenly developed a European 'right' and 'left' - known in our circle as a 'girly' left or right - and started waving his left, or right, hand in the car shouting at me to turn in the opposite direction !!!!!  Can't wait for September.

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Wendiam

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Message posted by Frogman1414/3/2008 at 10:55am
Outfit:  Touring caravan.     Location:  Lancashire
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Sounds like you're getting the hang of this continental stuff Wendi. Ready to move onto the next phase, which is a bit more difficult.

When you are back in Uk, sunny day, out in the country, quite relaxed, everything right with the world. the brain goes into "hoilday mode" so must drive on the right.Usually happens coming off a car park, supermarket, cafe or pub. Can be a bit disconcerting, paricularly to on coming traffic, when you have a caravan on the back. My Navlady has to put me straight from time to time.

FM


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Message posted by Frogman1419/3/2008 at 7:15pm
Outfit:  Touring caravan.     Location:  Lancashire
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To FV

Thanks for your kind words and support. There is a drink on the bar next time you are down this way (See gallery)

FM


Message posted by smudger123/4/2008 at 6:43pm
Outfit:  Too many Quechua tents!     Location:  Flitwick Beds
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I will post this on the sticky. This is the website for fuel prices in France

http://www.zagaz.com/index.php

Click on the region & find the town that you want.  Just make sure the price you are looking for has been updated recently.

Smudger  


Message posted by Frogman1426/4/2008 at 4:29pm
Outfit:  Touring caravan.     Location:  Lancashire
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Just pinning this for any bikers,http://www.bwam.org.uk/articles/in_france.php the bike Normandy link looks interesting

FM


Message posted by mattsurf25/7/2008 at 12:53pm
Outfit:  Sunncamp 550se     Location:  Wiltshire
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I work in Italy, in Naples and Genoa. There is a huge contrast in driving styles in Italy, in the North, people follow the rules (at least they try to). The exception to this is drinking and driving, I have many colleagues who do not think twice about drinking half a bottle of wine or more, followed by a Grappa or 2, then drive home. The penalties are severe, however enforcement is not good - so watch out on the roads in the evening

In the South, just have fun. The only way to drive is to pretend that you are Italian. I do always stop at traffic lights (unlike many locals). Overtaking is performed directly into oncomming traffic - they expect the other cars to slow down, do not be surprised to be overtaken in very unlikely places, also do not be alarmed if a car is driving on your side of the road directly towards you - this is normal. On the motorway, driving in a lane is advisory, when traffic builds, 2 marked lanes will easily hold 3 cars abreast (or more!). Many Italians consider dents as badges of honour, stay well clear of beaten up cars in heavy traffic. In heavy traffic just go for the gaps, even the ones that don't exist

On word of caution, speed limits on Italian motorways are enforced, many camera's and many police patrols and many of the speed controls are based on average speed. Also I have heard that speed you drive in the toll roads is calculated at the peage.

I also travel to Germany, often getting a lift in my colleagues Audi S6 - He drives at 150+ MPH and expects slower cars to get out of the way, if the cars don't move over he is forced to break hard at the very last moment (followed by several minutes of insults). In the UK we expect the car behind to slow down and wait, this is simply not the case in Germay. As other contributers have noted, lane disciplin is excellent. Occasionally you will see a Mercedes come past at 130+ mph with an Ford Focus stuck 1 metre from his exhaust - some people (idiots) slip stream faster cars. However, so long as you are alert, driving in Germany is a pleasure

Belgium is the only place where I am scared driving, whereas the Italians are manic and always pushing and shoving, many Belgiums are down right dangerous and totaly unpredictable - the roads are terrible, motorways often have huge volumes of surface water in the rain. Also should be noted that Priority to the right is much more common in Belgium than in France


Message posted by BoroGav207/8/2008 at 8:57pm
Outfit:  Vango Diablo 400     Location:  Leicester
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Best tip I was ever given was
"Only stop for petrol on your side of the road"

Disobeyed the advice once & did the best part of a mile on the wrong side when I pulled out


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