Saturday, 13 July 2019

What you need to know before driving in France

Driving in France is more a competitive sport than a method of getting from A to B.

French drivers will push to the limit to get into a roundabout, or beat you to a parking space, but there is very little road rage and most drivers are actually polite.

British motorists heading to France this summer (and by definition that includes Australians, New Zealanders and others used to driving on left) have been urged to read up on driving rules to avoid breaking the law in France.


Research by RAC Europe suggests a majority of British drivers are in the dark about a number of French driving rules and risk being fined.

Research found that:

- 63% of motorbike riders or car drivers are not aware tailgating is illegal in France

- 49% do not know the only legal way of using a handheld mobile phone in the country is to park up in a designated parking place and switch the engine off.

- only 14% are currently aware of the new 'Mesta Fusion' speed cameras being rolled out across France this year.

Also remember speed is restricted to 50kph in towns and cities, 80kph on major roads and 130kph on motorways unless stated otherwise. Fines can be very high.

The wearing of seat belts is compulsory in the rear and front seats of vehicles.

RAC Europe spokesman Rod Dennis said: "With thousands of UK drivers taking their own cars - and motorbikes - to France in the coming weeks, it can be easy to forget that certain driving conventions can be quite different to those this side of the Channel.

"Breaking down on a French motorway, for instance, results in a driver having to pay a mandatory fee to have their vehicle recovered, before a breakdown assistance company can come to help - a very different experience to here in the UK. So it's important UK drivers check their breakdown policy covers them before they leave home.

"Luckily, the vast majority of drivers say they have European breakdown cover in place before they leave - which is just as well, as a good policy is vital in helping drivers out of a sticky situation should they be unlucky enough to suffer a breakdown away from home."

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