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UK motorists caught out by speed cameras, or handed parking tickets on the continent have little to worry about at the moment if they are driving their own vehicles, the country’s top motoring lawyer has said.

But, Nick Freeman – aka Mr Loophole – said it was a different story for those driving hire cars, as they would eventually be tracked down!

nick freeman driving on the continent


Mr Freeman, who drives regularly on the continent, added those venturing across The Channel in their cars needed to be aware of a number of dos and don’ts!

He said: “If you are driving your own car and get either a parking ticket or are flashed by a speed camera the likelihood is you won’t have to pay the fine, because currently there is no DVLA database exchange.

“However, if it’s a hire vehicle, then you will eventually get a ticket through the post – but it might not be for several months. This is because the hire company will have received a notice of the offence, and will have forwarded the driver’s details to the prosecuting authority.”

Mr Freeman said if a motorist was caught speeding by the police then they would have to pay an on the spot fine. And, if the driver did not have enough money, they would be taken to the closest cash machine or bureau de change, to withdraw the necessary funds, which are often at an unfavourable rate.

“A conciliatory approach is the best and it is not worth the time, trouble and expense in trying to challenge the allegation.

“Be warned if you are travelling at a grossly excessive speed your vehicle can be seized and you can be arrested.

“The drink drive limits are also lower on the continent. They are approximately 60 per cent of the current English level. To be safe don’t even risk having just one drink before getting behind the wheel.”

Mr Freeman said drivers also had to have the following items with them as failure to do so would each constitute a separate offence, for which there will be a fine:

  • Warning triangle
  • Two breathalyser kits (available from Halfords)
  • Driving licence, insurance and car registration documents (V5)
  • Fluorescent jackets/Hi viz vest for each occupant


“I would also recommend having road-side assistance and be warned the speed limit changes when the roads are wet.

“Driving on the continent is so much more enjoyable than driving here in the UK. And, as long as you know the dos and don’ts, you will be fine. Finally, remember the speed limits are in kilometres per hour not miles per hour and you drive on the left-hand side of the road!”