Driving Rules & Tips :
Traffic rules are almost the same as in Britain with the difference
that in France you drive on the right and not on the left.
France has over 8 000 kilometers of motorways, mostly toll roads 'auto
routes. Because of their private financing, prices per km can vary.
The toll from Calais to Menton (1 221 kms) is 453 FF, and from Calais
to Montpellier 366 F. (There are special exit booths for vehicles
Unless otherwise posted and on dry roads:
130 km/h on toll motorways
110 km/h on dual carriageways and motorways without tolls
90 km/h on other roads,
50km/h in towns. Town name starts the limit; a bar through the town
name is the derestriction sign.
110 km/h on toll motorways
Drink and Drive: DON'T. The limit is 0.05 per cent alcohol. Random
breath tests are frequent. The fines for exceeding the drinking level
from 900 FF (for a rate between 0, 05 and 0, 08 %) to 30,000 FF. Police
are authorized to impose and collect fines on the spot up to 2,500
F from drivers who violate traffic regulations. (Rarely the Police
may accept vouchers from people covered by AA, RAC or Europe Assistance
motor insurance). For minor infractions, outside parking violations,
a 30% reduction on the amount of the fine may be granted to drivers
who pay the fine on the spot or within 24 hours. If the motorist does
not consider that he is at fault, he will be asked to pay a deposit
which varies according to the offence (e.g. 150 F for not wearing
a seatbelt). The Police must issue a receipt showing the amount paid.
Speeding fines: from 900 FF for exceeding the speed limit by 30
km/h to 40 km/h (reduced to 600 FF if payment on the spot) to 5
000 FF. A new category of offence has been created in the penal
code for drivers who 'deliberately put the lives of others in danger'.
This applies when a third person has been put in direct danger of
injury or death through the driver's disregard for safety precautions:
(100 000 FF for causing slight injuries).
Fully comprehensive cover is advisable. Though a green card is no
longer compulsory, it is advisable, as it will provide fully comprehensive
cover. Your British Insurance will give you the minimum legal cover
required in France: Third party. (However, 3rd party cover in France
is less than that in the U.K.). Check with your travel agent if you
are booking a package holiday.
You will find orange emergency telephones every 2 km, parking and
resting areas every 10 or 20 km. 24-hour petrol stations offer a
basic maintenance service, and are located approximately every 40
km. Most credit cards are accepted as payment for tolls and at service
Traffic on roundabout has priority - Main road - You do have priority.
Written signs include 'gravillons' (loose chippings), 'chaussée
déformée' (uneven road and temporary surface), 'nids
depoules' (potholes) and 'deviation' (diversion).
No driving on a provisional license.
During the first 2 years after passing your test, you must not exceed:
80 km/h on roads
100 km/h on urban motorways
110 km/h on motorways
There is a minimum speed limit of 80 km/h (or 50 mph) for the Outside
Lane on motorways, during daylight, on level ground, and with good
Minimum age to drive in France is 18 not 17.
The driver and front back-seat passengers must wear Seatbelts.
Under-tens may not travel in the front unless the child is in a specially
approved fitted seat facing backwards.
Stop signs mean stop. Creeping slowly in first gear will not do. Come
to a complete halt.
No stopping on open roads unless the car is driven off the road.
Overtaking where there is a solid single centre line is heavily penalized.
A red warning triangle to be carried in case of breakdown unless your
car has hazard-warning lights, but strongly advised anyway as breakdown
may affect your electrics. However, it is compulsory for cars towing
a caravan or a trailer.
Full or dipped headlights, as in UK, in poor visibility and at night.
Sidelights only when car is stationary. It is strongly advisable to
have a complete spare-bulb kit (buy before you go) as it is illegal
to drive with faulty lights.
Beams must be adjusted for right-hand drive. Yellow-tinted headlights
are not compulsory for tourist vehicles.