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Driving in France - French Rules of the Road

If you want to drive in France, you probably know that you will have to pay attention on the road as the French rules may differ on those you know. First of all, DRIVE ON THE RIGHT!


Before coming to France

Before entering in France and if you are driving a right hand drive car, make sure you have converted the headlights with the stick-on filters you can find in any good car spares shop. Be also sure that you have a high visibility jacket and a triangle in your car, as you are since recently bound by law to carry them in the car and to use them in case of breakdowns or accidents.

The legal age to drive in France is 18 years. So, UK full licence holders under the age of 18 cannot legally drive in France.


Roads

France has three major types of roads:

  • Motorways
  • National roads
  • Minor roads (departementales)
Motorways are distinguished by the prefix 'A' and National roads by the letter 'N'. Minor roads (departementales) are indicated by a 'D'. See below for the speed limits on those roads.


Fuel

About the price of fuel, you will be happy to discover that French prices are cheaper! If you can, try to buy it on the parking of supermarkets: it's where you can usually find the cheaper price! On the contrary, avoid to buy it on motorways as the price is more expensive there than elsewhere.


Wearing Seat belts

All passengers must wear seat-belts. Children under the age of 10 are not allowed to sit in front seats.

Driving Penalties and Sanctions in France

When driving in France please be aware that on the spot fines can be issued by the Police and Gendarmes if you are breaking the law. The following road fines are issued in France:

  • Amende forfaitaire : €135
  • Amende contractuelle minorée (reduced fine if you pay within 3 or 15 days) : €90
  • Amende majorée : €375


Speed limits in France

Everywhere, even by night, the French policemen and Gendarmes can check your speed. There are increasingly more fixed speed cameras ('radars'). All fixed speed cameras are preceded by a warning road sign. Speed checks are sometimes made in unmarked police or Gendarme cars, so our piece of advice is to always abide by the speed limits. Any drivers that have received a speeding ticket and have a question about it can call the national number 08.11.10.20.30. Further details about fixed radars can be found on the following website: www.radarsfixes.com .

French Speed limits

  • 50 km/h in towns (31mph)
  • 90 km/h on main roads (56 mph)
  • 110 km/h on dual carriage ways (68 mph)
  • 130 km/h on motorways (81mph)

In poor weather conditions (rain, fog,…) speed limits are reduced to 90 km/h on dual carriage ways and to 110 km/h on motorways.

Sanctions and Penalty fines for Speeding in France:

Speed excess inferior to 20 km/h in towns :

  • Amende contractuelle : €135
  • Amende contractuelle minorée (reduced fine if you pay within 3 or 15 days) : €90
  • Amende majorée : €375

Speed excess inferior to 20 km/h on main roads, dual carriage ways and motorways:

  • Amende contractuelle : €68
  • Amende contractuelle minorée (reduced fine, if you pay within 3 or 15 days) : €45

Speeding in excess of between 20 km/h and 50 km/h on main roads, dual carriage ways and motorways:

  • Amende contractuelle : €135
  • Amende contractuelle ( reduced fine if you pay within 3 or 15 days) : €90
  • Amende majorée : €375.

Speeding excess superior to 50km/h:

  • Amende contractuelle : €1,500
  • You also risk having your driving licence confiscated on the spot.

More information about Road Penalties in France



Priority to the right, Drink driving Laws, Breakdowns, Accidents and more: see our NEXT PAGE






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The Guides to France are published for general information only.
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