Rules of the Road (Just a guide,
legal age to drive in France is 18 yrs.
UK full licence holders under the age of 18 may not drive in
New drivers in France are restricted to 90km/h for 2 years
passengers must wear seat-belts.
Children under the age of 10 are not allowed in front seats.
must of course be used at night, but also in fog, mist or poor
visibility during the day.
must stop at Zebra crossings – this is now enforced by law.
But be careful as a pedestrian, it is not widely obeyed!
Speed limits applicable at the time of writing are normally:
in towns (31mph)
on main roads (56 mph), 80km/h
on the Paris péripherique (51 mph)
km/h on dual carriage ways (68 mph)
km/h on motorways (81mph)
limits are reduced in poor weather eg.
in rain the limit is 110 km/h on autoroutes, in fog where visibility is
less than 50m it is reduced to 50km/h.
you are stopped for speeding you can be fined on the spot. Fines can
be expensive and you must pay in cash.
If you are travelling more than 25 km/h above the speed limit
your car can be impounded (it DOES happen!), you can lose your licence and you could be
subject to a
warned – the French police have been known to check your toll ticket
when leaving a toll road.
This can be used to calculate your speed over a long distance and
can be incriminating!
Drink and driving
– Blood alcohol levels are stricter than in the UK - 0.5 mg/ml rather
than 0.8 mg/ml. The standard advice as always is - if driving, don't
drink. The French police are cracking down on drink driving so you have
- You should never use a mobile phone whilst driving.
- If you come across an accident, you should stop to help if you are
first on the scene.
- The fitting of radar detectors is illegal, whether they are in use or
not, and you could be fined
€750 for having one in your car.
Mind you, the French government publishes info on where the radar traps
Priorité à Droite:
famous feature of French driving etiquette still causes confusion today
despite it being less common than in days gone by. The problem is this:
you are driving along a road, anyone joining that road from your right
hand side has priority over you. They
don’t have to stop, you do…..even if you are travelling at speed!
have improved these days because officially the rule no longer applies
unless clearly signposted. On the right here you see the critical
sign - if you see this sign, it means that the road you are on has
priority, until you see the cancellation sign - the same, but with a
black line through it. However
the reality is that not every Frenchman (or woman!) follows the new
legislation! There are at
least two places where you need to be extremely careful:
In central Paris you will find that the rule is very much still
practiced on roundabouts. You
can be halfway round a roundabout and suddenly get carved up by a car
joining the roundabout. Our
advice: keep your eyes wide open, take Paris roundabouts slowly and
cautiously – better to have people on your tail honking their horns
than to have a car embedded in the side of yours!
- Small villages
and in the country. You
will often find that on minor roads priorité à droite is still assumed.
So again, slow down, keep your eyes wide open and be ready to be
courteous (but don’t expect any thanks!).
main N roads you don’t usually need to worry. However we still recommend that if you see someone approaching a
road junction from your right, take your foot of the gas a bit and be
ready…..just in case.