Driving Tips  



Things you need to know before driving in France

If you are planning to Drive in France, we offer the following information:

1. The drink driving limit is 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, not 80 milligrams as it is in the UK. This means less than one glass of wine or one pint of beer and you will be over the limit.

Drink and Drive PENALTIES - Random breath tests are frequent.

  • 0.8mg/litre blood: you will have to go to court; maximum fine: 4.500€.
  • 0.25mg/l blood: standard fine: 135€.

2. Speed Limits:

Unless otherwise signposted and on dry roads:

  • 130 km/h (80 mph) on toll motorways
  • 110 km/h (68 mph) on dual carriageways and motorways without tolls
  • 90 km/h (56 mph) on other roads
  • 50 km/h (31 mph) in towns. Town name starts the limit, a bar through the town name is the derestriction sign

On wet roads:

  • 110 km/h (68 mph) on toll motorways
  • 100 km/h (62 mph) on dual carriageways and motorways without tolls
  • 80 km/h (50 mph) on other roads. Speed limit of 50 km/h (31 mph).

3. Don't speed - the French authorities now have a reciprocal arrangement which allows them to chase up offenders in the UK. If you are caught by a mobile speed trap and stopped by the police they can impound your car until your fine is paid.

Radar detectors are illegal in France - they will be confiscated even if switched off, and you will be fined.

Speeding fines:

  • 50km/h over: you will have to go to court; maximum fine: 1.500€
  • 40km/h over you will have to go to court; maximum fine: 750€
  • 30km/h over you will have to go to court; maximum fine: 135€

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: 15.250€ for causing slight injuries and suspension of driving licence for a maximum of three years.

4. Warning triangles are to be used in the event of breakdown or accident and placed 30 metres from the vehicle to warn approaching traffic.

5. It is illegal to travel without spare bulbs and fuses for your vehicle. A First Aid kit must be carried in your vehicle at all times when driving in France.

6. You must have Headlamp Beam adaptors fitted for continental driving, even if you are travelling on the first day of your trip during the daylight.

7. You MUST take photocopies of your insurance, vehicle registration documents, MOT etc. as you may need them at customs, but definitely if you get stopped by the police.

8. You will need both parts of your driving licence with you.

9. On Toll roads you take a ticket when you enter and you pay when you leave. so they can see how many km you travelled.

10. Don't assume any hire car has the corrrect items listed above. ASK before you book the car and check when you pick it up.

11. From 1st October 2008 it will be obligatory to carry in all vehicles a warning triangle and reflective jacket for use in case of a breakdown. You will need one for each passenger and inside the car - it will be illegal to exit a broken down vehicle without wearing one.

12. Make sure you have a green card from your insurer allowing you to drive insure on the continent. Get an international accident declaration form from your insurance broker. It is simple to follow and will help when sorting out any mishaps. Be sure before signing anything in French!!!

13. Unless you have a new style EU number plates then you must have GB sticker on your car.

14. At stop signs stop for a minimum of 5 seconds and apply your hand break. It is a fineable offense if caught.

15. In towns particularly it is common for the priority to be given to those coming into a main road from the right - so watchout for these signs

this means you have NO priority - so anyone coming into your road has the priority or end of your priority

this means you have priority


Please drive carefully - on the right! and have a great trip.