Reflective jackets

Roadside safety at home and abroad

It's now compulsory to carry a reflective jacket if you drive in France


The French government's decision to require all cars to carry a reflective jacket and a warning triangle affects British tourists. Effectively your car is illegal now if you don't meet this requirement and failing to comply risks a fine of between €90 and €135.

The jacket is meant to be within easy reach of the driver, and so should not be stored where it can't be reached without leaving the car.

The law requires one jacket to be carried. However, the British have long been advised to get everyone out of the vehicle and away from the traffic in the event of a motorway breakdown, or anywhere else when there is a risk of the broken down vehicle being struck by another vehicle.

Because of this it may be advisable to carry at least two jackets – one for the driver, who may have to stay close to the vehicle, and one for the leader of any passengers that move away from the road.

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Not just France - other countries and hire cars

An increasing number of countries are requiring jackets, most prominently Spain, Portugal, Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. France has tended to attract the most attention because it is nearest and is visited most by people who take their own cars.

But people using hire cars abroad must also check that their vehicle is properly equipped. The fact that it is not your car is not a defence.

Check detailed requirements for most popular European destinations »

Reflective jackets in the UK

While the AA would not call for drivers to be required to carry reflective jackets in the UK we do think it is a good idea to carry them – and use them if they you have to stop at the roadside.

This means that for a two car family having at least two is sensible – carry one in each car normally but put both in the same car for longer family journeys or trips abroad.

A word of warning

Being fined abroad may not be the end of the matter. If you do not have the money to pay the fine, the French and other European police are empowered to require you to go and raise the money – and this can take the best part of a day out of your holiday, make you late at your destination or make you miss your ferry or boat.

More information

General advice for travelling in Europe »

Compulsory equipment»

AA Public Affairs


02 October 2008