Driving in France

What you need to have/know:

Drivers in France should adhere to French laws of the road or face a fine. Here is a short list that will ensure a smooth trip.

On Car Rear: You are required to place a GB sticker on the rear of your car.

Reflective Jacket: Since July 2008 it is compulsory for motorists to have a reflective jacket in any vehicle with four wheels or more in France. Non compliance could be an on the spot fine of up to 130 euros.

In the boot: Drivers are required by French law to have the following items in their boot: a warning triangle, florescent jackets, spare bulb kit, first aid kit and fire extinguisher.

Car: Headlights need to be adjusted to drive on the right.

Glovebox: Vehicle registration document or letter from the owner/hirer confirming authorisation.

Notebook:Make sure you have the emergency contact numbers for your insurance company and European breakdown cover details (if you have it).

Passengers: Children under 10 cannot travel in the front with the exception of babies (up to 9 months and less than 9kg) in rear facing seats. All passengers (front and back) must wear seat belts if fitted.

Drink Driving: – Don’t drink and drive. The limit is just one glass of wine and penalties are severe if you don’t adhere. An on-the-spot fine of up to 3000 euros could be levied.

Check out
www.kent.police.uk/travel for more information.

Drivers Beware

Age Limit

Uk drivers can start at 17. In France its 18

Valid Licence

Make sure you have a valid GB or NI driving licence for the type of vehicle you intend to drive. If you do not yet have a driving licence drivingschools.co.uk offers information and advice on learning to drive and can help you find a local instructor.

Drive on the right

Don’t forget that in France, you should drive on the right.

Radar Detectors are illegal

If you have one a radar detector, remove it from your car before you leave. Not only will you be fined, but this will be confiscated, even if switched off. Check out this website www.english.controleradar.org for useful information about French roads. Even though most foreign drivers are, for the time, not targeted by the vast network of automatic speed cameras, knowing where they are on your itinerary is still a good idea : the impunity will not last long…

Types of Road

A roads: Autoroutes – these are motorways

N roads: Route Nationals – these are major roads

D roads: Routes Departementales – or secondary roads that link towns and villages.

Speed Limits

Did you know that eight out of ten drivers caught speeding in Calais in France are British? Traffic officers from Kent have been called in to help French police patrol the A26 motorway south of Calais, so beware as if you are caught, you will be asked to pay an on-the-spot fine!

Toll motorways 80 mph/130 km/h but reduced to 70 mph/110km/h when wet

Dual carriageways 68mph/110 km/h

Other roads 68mpn/110km/h

In towns* 31mph/50kh/h

* Towns are marked by the town name. A bar through the town name means the end of that town.

Seat Belts

Seat belts must be worn both by passengers in the front and the rear. Children under 10 years old must not travel in the front. The only exception is if the child is a baby up to 9 months old and weighs less than 9 kilos.

Drinking and Driving

Don’t do it. Just one glass of wine will take you over the limits and drink/drive laws are strictly adhered to and penalties servere.

Driving Signage Translations

Autres Directions = other directions

Cédez le passage = give way

Chaussée deformer = uneven road/ temporary surface

Déviation = Diversion

Gravillons = loose chippings

Passage protégé = your right of way

Péage = Toll

Priorité piétons = give way to pedestrians

Rappel = reminder

Rids de poules = potholes

Sortie = an junction/exit off a motorway

Toutes Directions = All directions

Vous n’avez pas la priorité = Give way.