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Driving to Meribel | Just-Meribel.Com

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Driving to Meribel

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Travelling by car is now a popular choice of many UK skiers and boarders. Offering you both the freedom of your own vehicle and the potential to miss out on the airport waiting and transfers

Driving can be a great experience for everyone involved, if you take the proper gear and do a bit of forward planning. Sadly, it isn’t as simple as loading up the car and jumping on the Euro tunnel. So how can you best prepare for the journey, ensuring a stress free drive? Read on to find out.

The drive from Calais to Meribel is pretty straightforward, it’s motorway all the way to Moutiers, and then a 25 minute climb up the hill to Meribel. It is approximately an 8-10 hour drive (895kms/550 miles) from Calais and will cost around €70/75 in road tolls.

Preparing your vehicle

Preparing your vehicle is essential if you want a safe, stress free trip. Click the drop down to see our list of essential checks.

Essential vehicle checks
Tyres
Certainly one of the most important factors to ensuring a smooth drive and safety when driving in resort. You may think carefully about investing in some snow (winter) tyres for the journey. They give you a much needed boost in the level of control when driving on fresh and compacted snow. Secondly to tyres you need to bring appropriate snow chains, incase the resort gets a dumping of powder while your there, your decent back down the mountain could be a lot trickier than the drive up.

Battery
Even modern batteries don’t last forever, especially in very cold conditions. A solid battery is essential. Winter conditions in the dark with lights, car and seat heaters and windscreen wipers puts a lot of strain on your battery. Consider replacing your battery before you go, especially if it is approaching the end of it’s life span.

Vehicle Fluids
Check the oil and water levels in your vehicle (found in your hand books) and ensure they are topped up. Pay particular attention to the anti-freeze and windscreen wash – use a proper product rather than the cheaper options. You do not want your vehicle freezing up on your journey, it is dangerous and could cause damage to your vehicle.

Lights
Check that all lights are working and clean. Remember that you are driving on the opposite side of the road in France, so for driving on the continent you must remember to fit headlight converters to adjust your beams so that you don’t dazzle on-coming vehicles. You can pick these up at many high street stores, which will be able to convert most vehicles, but be wary of leaving this to the last minute if your vehicle may need to be converted by your dealership or local garage.

Windscreen Wipers
Very important if you happen to get a spot of rain or worse, a blizzard while driving up the mountain roads. Check front and rear wiper blades for wear or splitting and replace if the need be.

Number Plates
If your vehicle / number plate is pre 2001 and without a GB Euro badge then you are required to affix a GB sticker to your vehicle. This needs to be clearly visible. You can pick these up at high street stores for not a lot of money.

Motor Insurance
It is essential that you have the correct level of insurance for travelling in a different country. It is advised to contact your insurance company at least one month in advance of travel to inform them of your trip. They can best advise any additional costs or requirements that may be needed.


Rules of the road abroad

To avoid an encounter with the Gendarmerie, (French police) you need to know what the differences in road rules there are in France and the EU.

Rules of the road
Accessories
It is a legal requirement in France that all passengers of the vehicle must have a high visibility jacket incase of emergency. It is also a requirement that you carry a warning triangle in your vehicle while travelling. You can be fined quite handsomely if you do not have these items so make sure you take that into account before travel.

Drink Driving
Like the UK it is illegal to drive when intoxicated, but in France the legal level is even less. If you are planning on heading out to one of the local bars then it is best advised to take public transport. Buses are free within Meribel, so there isn’t really no excuse.

Driving Direction
In France they drive ON THE RIGHT. It is quite easy to forget this when doing common things like pulling out of a petrol station. So be wary and remember to drive on the right. In France they also give way to the right, which can sometimes mean giving way to a car that is pulling onto the road you are already travelling on.

Mobiles
It is illegal to drive and use your mobile phone in the EU unless using a hands free kit.

Seat Belts
It is mandatory that you and all your passengers wear self belts whether in the front or back seats.

Speed
Speed limits apply on many roads just like the UK. But on French roads speed is measured in KH/h not MP/h, so look up your conversion table before you go and know what the correct speeds are before you travel.

Swiss Driving
If you pass through Switzerland on your journey it is important to note that it is a legal requirement to drive with your headlights on during the day. Some vehicles have ‘daylights’ which are legal but it is always best to check for your specific vehicle.


Preparing your travellers

Not only carrying plenty of water and fluids and maybe a snack, but your travellers will need to remember their passports when travelling across the border at the EuroTunnel or the ferry crossings.
 


With a bit of forward planning, driving your own vehicle to the Alps can be a great experience. Certainly an option to think about if you don’t fancy flying.

 


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