DRIVING TIPS IN FRANCE

  • Our new Driving Tips series gives you the need-to-know advice for driving abroad!

  • Driving in France can be quite a different experience from our familiar UK roads, so please look through our Sixt tips for advice and essential motoring information for drivers visiting France.

RULES & REGULATIONS

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  • Normal driving is on the right, with passing and overtaking on the left. Where there are designated traffic lanes, vehicles may ‘overtake’ traffic on the right occupying slow-moving lanes.

  • On steep hills in France, uphill traffic has priority – downhill traffic must give way.

  • A great tip to know when driving in France is at all intersections, priority must be given to traffic approaching from the right unless there are road signs indicating otherwise.

  • Always give way to police and other emergency vehicles.

  • Horns must only be used where there is immediate danger. During the hours of darkness, warnings should be given by flashing lights instead.

  • The Drink Driving maximum limit in France is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Police are allowed to make random breath tests.

  • Reduced speed limits also apply for new drivers and drivers under the age of 21.

  • Speed camera detectors, also when used by onboard sat nav systems are illegal in France. Make sure to stick to the speed limits dictated below.

  • On motorways, only the official breakdown service may be used – make contact via orange emergency phones.

  • When driving in France a tip to bear in mind; is it is illegal to allow passengers to travel inside a moving caravan.

  • Child passengers under 10 must use an approved child restraint. In France, the type of restraint specified depends on the weight of the child. When hiring a car with a baby seat add-on make sure to choose the correct size for your child.

Image by Stephanie LeBlanc

SPEED LIMITS

  • Rural 2 & 3 lane roads are a maximum of 90 km/h

  • 4 lane expressways are a maximum of 110 km/h

  • Highways are a maximum of 130 km/h in rural area

  • There is a maximum of 50 km/h in urban areas

  • These limits are then adjusted when raining to 80 km/h, 100 km/h and 110 km/h. It is also worth noting a driving tip for the Paris Ring Road is has a limit of 80 km/h.

THINGS TO BRING ALONG

  • Proof of ID – usually a passport

  • Proof of Car Insurance

  • Proof of ownership – a Vehicle on Hire Certificate (see your Sixt hire documents)

  • A current, full UK driving licence – drivers must be at least 18 years old in France

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • Petrol costs are about the same as in the UK, but diesel is around 15 per cent cheaper.

  • The word ‘Péage’ at the bottom of a motorway sign indicates a toll motorway.

  • Take care when braking suddenly – French drivers don’t always leave a safe ‘stopping distance’.

  • On road signs, the word ‘Bis’ in italics indicates a holiday route and usually offers a scenic and less-crowded alternative.

  • A driving tip to avoid a fine in France, police have the power to levy on-the-spot fines of up to €375 for traffic offences – for example, the use of a mobile phone attracts a €130 penalty.

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