Yesterday I did a very vulgar booze run to Calais, so in the space of a few hours joined the P and O ferry traffic both ways.
I was struck by how few cars/vans had bothered to display GB stickers or plates. That included some very newy-registered cars where I would have thought it would be the norm now, rather than the exception, to specify a GB plate when buying it.
P and O , both at Dover and on the ferry, made announcements re Euro driving requirements ( obviously hopeful of selling some kits) but few people took any notice.
It's not like people had rushed there at short notice- there were some very-elaborately organised roof racks/Thule boxes/trailers - but for some reason a lot of people ignore a basic requirement which I think has been the law for 20 years , and where as I understand it French police can have an on-the-spot fine from you .
It seems very arrogant behaviour but is there some deep-seated philosophical/political objection I haven't spotted?
The lack of headlight deflectors is the one I always think is the most dangerous. Mind you, the GFs parents now live in France with a French LHD renault. When they were coming over to England in it, they enquired at their local dealer about how to adjust the lights or if there were any covers available. Garage said they'd never heard of them, and no warnings in France about needing anything for driving in the UK.
No, that's what I meant about the newly-registered cars ... in fact over at least the last 5 years that's been an option.Also I think when you buy used from a dealer the law requires new plates-not sure? If so my guess would be that GB index plates could have been on 75% of vehicles there yesterday.
My point was that many vehicles had neither a GB index plate or a stick-on one
I don't use a country identifier when I'm driving abroad. It keeps the locals guessing and is merely a small fine in the unlikely event you get stopped by the police. Of course if you tell them that someone must have stolen it or it fell off they probably won't even fine you.........
Many many moons ago I was on a touring holiday with my mum and dad. We were in Yugoslavia (before the last unpleasantness) in a VW (splitsscreen and side barn doors - what would that be worth now?) and parked with the tailgate opened. Soon two policemen drew up in their car and after a lengthy pantomime due to a two-way language barrier we ascertained we were under arrest and had to follow them. So dad shut the tailgate at which point the policemen then saw the GB sticker that had been looking up at the sky, laughed, shook dad's hand and drove off.
I see scores of continental cars and not one of them has beam deflectors fitted and those who don't have nationality displayed on their number plates don't have a sticker on the back of the car either. Who cares, I don't and neither do the police!
Thing is, the police DO care.
On one of my sordid shopping trips last year I chatted to a guy on the homeward ferry who had been relievd of an on-the-spot fine on the A16 about 20 mins drive out of Calais .
He was told that just that day they had taken a fine off more than 20 drivers and the local police couldn't understand why we make it so easy for them- but are happy to oblige.
It's a great way for the police to both pick up a lot of cash and endear themselves to the locals.
My original question was: why don't people simply do it ? A GB index plate is a no-cost option ( my last 2 cars have had them , and I was asked by the dealer during prep) ; and a stick-on plate is about £1 or even free.
If the French police are sufficiently bleeding minded they can do you for not displaying a GB plate even if you have the small one on your number plate.The French government have not rescinded the 1928 law that required country plates and the small ones do not meet the requirements of this law.
I am not 100% certain, so please do not jump down my throat if I am proven wrong, but my understanding is that French vehicles do not dip to the left, they simply dip up and down. In this case there is no need for them to fit beam deflectors when driving over here.
On the other hand I have often been on Eurotunnel and seen Dutch drivers fitting masks to their headlights, so perhaps the headlight problem varies from country to country?
On the subject of GB stickers, I was talking to a south coast magistrate recently and he told me that in just over 20 years on the bench, he had never had any foreign driver brought before him for failing to display a nationality plate.
I have driven all over Western Europe and have often seen vehicles without their nationality plates and it is true that no one seems to care, unless it is a case of 'throwing the book' at them.
French vehicles in common with most EU vehicles do not dip straight up and down or to the left but to the right;just drive along the M2 or M20 at night and you will realize this as vehicle after vehicle blinds you.
I don't think many people bother now with the Nationality ID plate (GB or Europeans) - I don't understand what the point is anymore, arn't we all part of the EU?
It's easy for the police to identify the car from the number plate style anyway and they only have to pull you over if they want to check your passport etc. The British - being RHD - are the easiest to classify!
I've driven throughput Europe on business and pleasure for many years and - from my observation - it's the British (especially Welsh/Scottish) who display the sticker most often. Most other European don't bother. I've never heard of anyone being stopped/warned/fined - I've been stopped in Holland and France on a routine check & the lack of a sticker was never mentioned - I've also been "on the spot" fined for parking facing oncoming traffic by an extremely obnoxious Belgian traffic policeman who threatened to impound my (company!) car if I didn't give him the equivalent of £20 "immediately" ! - but he didn't mention the lack of the GB sticker either.
I really think the police have more important things to worry about.
With regard to headlamp deflectors - don't forget most UK tourists heading for France probably won't even drive at night. Many will be families staying at French campsites where the barrier comes down at 10pm and most of those families with young children will not be out after dark......................so headlamp beam deflectors not necessary!
With regard to headlamp deflectors - don't forget most UK tourists heading for France probably
won't even drive at night. Many will be families staying at French campsites where the
barrier comes down at 10pm and most of those families with young children will not
be out after dark......................so headlamp beam deflectors not necessary!
What about road tunnels where the use of headlights is compulsory? What about bad weather necessitating the use of headlights?
It strikes me as the height of rudeness to visit another country and ignore their laws. People can afford the ferry trip, the campsite, the spending money but they can't afford £1 for a GB sticker and £5 for beam deflectors or even £1 for a roll of insulating tape?
It's a not dissimlar issue to the people who can afford expensive new cars and flash mobiles yet strangely can't afford the £10 it costs to buy a handsfree kit.
I've never seen a French,German,Dutch, Polish etc car in the UK sporting beam deflectors - or been blinded by one either! You won't blind anyone using dipped headlights - and wether in the UK or Europe one dips one's headlamps when faced with an oncoming vehicle.
I used to do that, until I got tired of the white Renault 5s it seemed to attract; there was always one there in the mirror. Current car has the GB tag on the number plates, which is just as well as there's nothing ferrous at the back to stick a plate onto.
There is no need for a GB plate if you have the Euro number plate with the blue section on one side. In fact I think GB plates tend to act a bit like a red rag to a lot of other Continental drivers !
My local dealer fitted Euro plates by default on my new car.
Many of the arguments stated above against fitting GB stickers when going abroad seem to be based on the fact that foreign vehicles in the UK rarely display theirs. This is a risky basis for an argument. Just because the UK authorities chose to ignore foreign infringements, don't assume the French are as easy going. Our RHD vehicles stick out like sore thumbs and are an open invitation to the gendarmerie to slap on-the-spot fines without hesitation. Also, do not assume that not driving at night allows you to avoid having properly adjusted head lights. These have to be used in poor visibility (eg. when its raining) and are therefore evident even during the day. Quite why some motorists going to the expense of crossing the Channel are not prepared to spend a few quid to avoid risking a hefty fine escapes me. There is also the added risk that, if stopped for one of the above offences, you will almost certainly be checked for lack of possession of spare bulbs, warning triangle and hi-vis vests.
Is there also a sentiment now that we are all europeans now and some British drivers make many trips to the continent and therefore see little "foreigness" in going overseas.
What is the point of the GB sticker anyhow? To allow the police to work out where to send the fine to? If the Gendermerie cannot differentiate between different number plates then they need to go back to school. I remember being about 7 years old and being able to recognise foreign plates and know which country they came from.
Much better in my opinion to comply with continental regulations wether you agree with them or not. I have seen cars stopped by gendarmes and it isn't a case of ''Good morning sir'' there seem to be a lot of backroomers braver than I when going abroad. Given a chance gendarmes regard Le roast beefs as a legitimate source of revenue and amusement.
How about the original question the other way around.
When a plastic sticker only costs loose change, why do so many of those who do bother to get a GB sticker leave it on when they get home? It's either a not especially attractive white oval, or even more unsightly paintwork damage underneath.
Hi vis jackets aren't yet a legal requirement in France, but warning triangles and bulbs are. (Even if you can't fit them yourself).
In Italy and Spain now they expect the jackets to be in the car, not the boot.
The AA website has a list of legal requirements for European countries.
One week to Germany next month, Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance
UK Airport Hotel and 8 days parking £92
Flights for 2 and checked in baggage £86
7 days hire of a Focus estate £160
That is about £350. At say, 30p a mile, plus a channel crossing I don't think you can get your own car from Dover to Bavaria and back for less than £350. That's only my take on it and I do agree about the faff at the airports BTW!
I don't use an GB identifier, no-one cares, least of all me. It's obvious the car is a British car. I do think however that it should be compulsory for all newly registered vehicles to have EEC style number plates fitted.