What makes some ex-pats so arrogant?

Went to the local airport to collect a friend today, arriving just as the passengers were entering the arrivals hall. Being a lazy b I parked, illegally,close to the terminal, making sure, however, that the access road was left clear. Staying in the car I saw first one Brit car, then another, pull in to the one way access road & stop, presumably to pick up friends. This would be fine if the passengers were out & waiting - a minute stop to load is not much to ask, but they were not. My passenger had made an appearance & I drove up to collect her & in a few seconds we were ready to go. The two cars in front, however, were still waiting with no sign of any passengers. At this stage common courtesy & politeness should dictate that blocking a road for an indefinite time is not acceptable & one should drive round to let traffic through ( a couple of hundred yards). With no movement from either driver I gave a polite toot. The only reaction came from someone chatting to the driver of the second car who stopped leaning on the car to look at me with distain only to resume his conversation with the driver. Not being on holiday & with a busy schedule I activated the MK 2 horn, somewhat louder than the standard vehicle one, only to get the same treatment. Only when I got out of my car did these people start to move & the "friend" shouted at me " patience!". I wonder what his patience level would be if I parked across his driveway & just stared at him when he wanted to leave? Public roads are for all to use & are not for lazy english to block when they feel like it!

There seems to be quite a lot of "the law does not apply to me - I'm British" mentality about, especially with regard to motoring, which hopefully will change as parameters change.

For a long time I have had a rant about uninsured UK registered cars being driven here ( & strangely, been criticized for on some sites) but recent changes here should help reduce this. It is illegal for a french resident to drive a foreign registered vehicle in France, punishable with a 5 year prison sentence, 3750 euro fine, a minimum 3 year ban & the confiscation of the car. (code de la route Article L.317-2). This has been European law for some time, but at the beginning of 2011 if you are importing a car you needed both the car's log book AND a certificate of european conformity to get a CT. With that you are well on the way to completing the import process. French insurance would only (legally) be given for a month at a time on a foreign vehicle. Now, according to my broker, French insurance cannot be given at all!

I somehow don't think we will see the end of UK reg blue Peugeot 106s on Mussidan roads or Vauxhall Fronteras in Aubeterre with export tags & no CT or insurance for a while, but one hopes one day the gendarmes will have a purge! But why do these people think the law is only for others?

I might add that the reason my contributions are mostly moaning ones is because the James & Catharine know that we need to whinge to each other sometimes - even in paradise!

You know you are responding to a four year old post Gerald?

Absolutely. Just get it through an MOT test and tip up at the taxation office with that, the bill of sale and the carte grise and two hours later it is registered. That is my experience anyway.

Just a reminder to keep discussions civil please :)

This forum is more of an eye opener every day.

So are you seriously saying that you think your rights as an individual come before the laws of a country? That France does not have the right to decide what vehicles it will accept on its own roads and what vehicles it won't? That it's OK for foreigners to move here and twist or break any law that doesn't happen to suit them? Because that's what it sounds like you're saying.

Importing a vehicle here that meets EU spec and has not been modified takes as long as it takes to put the relevant paperwork in an envelope and take it to the prefecture, a couple of hours probably.

France doesn't happen to want its roads full of kit cars and souped up hot hatches and having lived in Manchester I'm glad to be shot of the whole boy racer culture. I happen to know that it's also very very difficult in Germany and Spain (because I'm a member of a car club and I've read it many times in the club magazine), I don't remember reading about people trying anywhere else, but it sounds like perhaps the UK is exceptionally lax in letting people drive round in modded and home-made cars that probably don't meet safety standards.

If you can't live without your kit car then either you jump through the hoops to prove your car is safe, or you leave it in the UK, and if you feel it's beneath your dignity to do either then moving to France was a bad choice wasn't it.

Blimey, Gerald, you haven't done this for a while, have you?

Firstly, you cannot legally mix n' match UK & French documents whatever any forums or insurance agents tell you. Simply, if you are a french resident you can only drive a french registered car. (There are a few exceptions but I won't go into details.) This means that it must have a french carte grise, a french CT (there is a temporary 6 month exception if the car is imported using the UK MOT) & must be insured by a french insurance company. If a UK friend visits you in his fully legal car you may only drive it if he is also in the car. For a UK registered car to be used in Europe it must be driven by a UK resident, be UK taxed, UK MOTd & be insured by an insurance company which is a member of the Motor Insurers Bureau - such as Axa UK but not Axa France.

I have found that importing a standard UK car to be no problem at all. Most post 2001 cars come with the c of c number already on the logbook & at last the french government will accept that at the prefecture provided that the type/variant number is also present. You can register your car even if it fails its CT so if changing headlights is taking its time this need not delay the process. I do not understand the problem with the quittas fiscal as I have found that if the log book is in your name no receipt is necessary & if the logbook is still in the previous owner's name a hand written receipt accompanied by a copy of the french "cession" form (I know!) suffices. If your timing is right it can all be done in a day!

In the UK the process you describe has changed. Vehicles have to be fitted with a dual MPH/KPH speedo, for instance, along with headlights & rear fog lights, must have a C of C AND a certificate of Mutual Recognition! Cars over 10 years old are exempt from some of these though but I'm not sure about kit cars which might fall into the Individual Vehicle Approval scheme.


There is another side to the car registration aspect that you mention. If you own a car that will not raise a certificat de conformité, because for example it is a recently registered British kit car and cannot come in under the 'vehicule de collection' route then you are buggered, as you cannot get it registered in France. You can go the DREAL route and try to get it homologé as a unique car but that is next to impossible and costs a great deal of money with no guarantee of success. The British insurers will not give you a green card but only thirty day's insurance. Without a certificat de conformite or a carte grise you cannot get a ct for such a vehicle, so much as one may want to register such a vehicle in France it is, quite frankly, not possible.

The only way to go with such a vehicle is to insure it in France, and there are major insurers who still do this, and get an MOT test in the UK. You are then insured properly and have a valid MOT test both of which should be valid across the European Union. But it is a pain in the arse because it means taking the car to the UK once a year to get it tested when one should be able to do that in France.

Since January 2014 any car that is registered in a member state may have its registration changed to that of another member state on demand, vat exemption being proven. The French simply refuse to do this if a cc cannot be raised. The cc is now an irrelevance because of the 2014 ruling.

We are meant to be in an homogenized Europe but the French continue to make up their own rules. When I have imported vehicules from France into the UK I only need the log book an MOT test and the bill of sale and I get turned round in an hour at the local taxation office.

In France, even with a vehicle with a cc it takes forever. You go to the maison d'impots to get the VAT exempton and they find something wrong with the bill of sale. They do not understand that some people sell cars part time in the UK and they do not have a VAT number. That will consume a week's going back and forward. The Cert of conformite will take at least a week and cost between 100 and 200 euros. If it is a BMW you have to check it in with a BMW agent to make sure that the speedo and the headlights are right for France. When you get to the prefecture with all the bumph it takes them a month to deliver the carte grise. In Britain they test the car on its foreign plates and chassis number and then you hop over to the licencing place and an hour later you are given a document with your new registration - even if it is a kit car because if it has a log book the car is legal across the EU. Except of course in France where they make up their own rules.

I wonder if folks sometimes choose to ignore their own arrogance,

I do :)

Nice measure of balance there, I wonder if folks sometimes choose to ignore their own arrogance, we are all guilty of it sometimes. it's just a human flaw.

Although civil and criminal law is different in Scotland (I have no experience of NI) the various Motor Traffic acts pertain to the totality of the UK right across the board.

One particular character was moping around in the pub, normally a cheerful bloke. So a couple of people tried to find out what was wrong. He'd been on the way home, jumped out of his car for a jimmy with a smoke in his lips. He coughed, the fag fell, but directly down from his lip, he screamed and jumped, thus soaked his trousers into the bargain. He was particularly miserable because he only owned two pair of trousers and now he would have to get the other ones washed whilst the ones he was wearing were too tight where it mattered owing to some badly placed blisters. A story of woe that went round the entire boozer like wildfire and to a couple of other locals. For some reason he acquired the nickname Jimmy, which he probably still has if he is still alive but lost in the mists of time - except those of us who remember of course.

There is a lot less peeing in laybys nowadays and the police etc are more strict with this kind of offence (unfortunately).

The worst thing for me was peeing and smoking at the same time. One memorable if not painful pee happaned when I tried to take the ciggy out of my mouth to flick the ash only for the filter to stick to my lips allowing the two fingers of my left hand holding the ciggy to slide to the tip. The tip, ash and lit part of ciggy dropped down on my exposed member leaving a burn on the foreskin...

Painful and embarassing especially when my then girlfriend decided the whole pub should know about t.............

Think about when in France, and the guy pulls into a layby for a pee (it's compulsory). It's so easy for right-handed men to get into their pants whilst holding their sandwich in the left. The zip is designed for that, but give a thought for the poor left-hander. He either drops his butty or wets his pants!

Being right handed and leading with my right hand I used to mount on the right, different people got into different habits though. Racing trainers allow mounting from either side. It is said that because people hold reins with the right hand, mounting on the right would mean holding them with the left therefore the risk of losing control during the switch is high. I always held my reins on the left when mounting, so that one puzzles me. My daughter, FFE member with galops and licence, mounts on the right as she was taught, the owner/trainer who has a lot of awards in the stable's office in his name mounts on the right. The exception, which is hardly relevant to the majority, is mounting with a sword worn on the left. Then there is which hand a waggoner holds his whip which is right for all right handed people.

Then there is the 'fact' that a bit over 90% of the world's roads bear traffic on the right and 10% on the left. The reason given is that right hand traffic predominates across continental landmasses, which are well over 90%, then the majority of island nations drive on the left. However, southern and east Africa are the opposite with nine or ten RHD nations and the majority of islands LHD. But then the Pacific islands are about 50:50 and it is large nations like Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Philippines. People have said that that is about being former British colonies, but not all are for instance the last two large island nations never were.

The stories are legion but practice still something other. The fact remains that majority drive on the right of the road. However, as long as this world exists UK RHD people will insist that the majority of the world is wrong. It does continue to make the tenor of this thread really quite absurd since nothing is going to change other than a much repeated point about legal conformity being flaunted not being tolerable but too many people clearly doing it here in France, presumably elsewhere in Europe as well.

More to do with mounting horses on the left I believe.

I spent Christmas in Marrakech with my daughter last year and on one of our tours the guide pointed out a driving school car that had two steering wheels. I kid you not! I Googled it trying to find a photo but only found this


where at least the author mentions it is hard to pratice when the monitor (instructor) is using HIS steering wheel and brake.

While it easy to put in dual brake and clutch a second steering wheel would, I guess, require a second steering rack somehow grafted onto the original one but this maybe the solution for folk here concerned about by RHD vs LHD. They can have both :slight_smile:

I agree Brian and there’s a fair number of incompetents whizzing around in white vans of all sizes on the narrow roads where I live. Have you any idea why they’ve removed the centre white lines from backroads or is this just a Var thing? I’ve been told it was a “safety” measure because any accident will now be 50/50 liability and thus should encourage all drivers to slow down. If that’s the case it hasn’t worked in my neck of the woods.

How so John if, as I wrote, the vehicle is roadworthy and legal AND the driver is competent? If your argument held any water surely there would be legislation preventing these “dangerous” vehicles you allude to from being on the road?

If that was your intention Simon it was a pity because I responded in good faith. Amyway, I’ll keep you attitude in mind when reading any more of your “contributions”.

Japan passed passed their left-hand traffic law (RHD) in 1924 although the country did not entirely use that side until 1978, Myanmar adopted RHD the same year. In both countries the reasons are to do with beliefs rather than any pragmatic device. Left-hand driving, back at the stage of coaches and wagons drawn by horses allowing each other to pass did so because the majority of coach/wagon drivers were right-handed and it was custom to shake hands on passing, thus one sat on the right of the conveyance in order to extend a right hand for the shake. Silly story, but silly enough to be true, history and customs are full of them. However, Japan makes many more LHD vehicles for export than RHD for domestic and export sales. So, economics rather than economic efficiency dictate with older Shinto customs stronger even.