Basic rules of the roads and driving requirements.
 
 

GENERAL TIPS AND ROAD INFORMATION

Traffic drives on the right and passes on the left.
Driving on sidelines is not permitted in France.
French roads are kept in good conditions due to the numerous tolls in the country. There are regular service stations on the main motorways. Motorways bear the prefix “A”.

RIGHT OF WAY

Right of way is given to ambulances, fire-engines, police motorcycles, Police Secours, Prefecture de Police, public utility cars (Electricite, Gaz, Compagnie Generale des Eaux, Service de Nettoiement) and any vehicle coming from your right.  Priority is given to traffic coming from your left as you enter a roundabout.

PARKING


Parking restrictions are strictly enforced, particularly in major towns. In Paris, failure to comply with parking regulations may result in fines or you car may be towed.   “stationnement alterné semi-mensuel” means that you may park on one side of the street for the first half fo the month and the other side for the rest of the month. Road signs marked 1-15 or 16-31 mean that you cannot park on the side of the road where the sign is posted between those dates. Parking on the left side of a street is allowed along one-way streets only.
Parking meters are very common.  Provincial towns often offer free parking from noon to 1:30 p.m.. The end of a no parking zone is indicated by a sign "Fin d'interdiction de stationner." Parking is free from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. Monday - Friday, weekends, public holidays, and during the month of August, unless otherwise indicated.

FINES

Road laws are strongly enforced by police during frequent road checks and result in heavy fines in case of non-compliance.  Speeding and other traffic offences are subject to on-the-spot fines and radar traps are frequent. An official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine. The blood/alcohol limit in France is 50mg.

FUEL

All grades of unleaded petrol and diesel are available. LPG is only available at some stations.  You are allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, however, they may not function at all automatic pumps, which are often the only pumps in rural areas open during off hours, including lunch-time from noon to 3pm. It's a good idea to inform your card issuer that you will be travelling abroad, so they will not suspend your card if they detect use in unfamiliar places, as an anti-fraud measure.

SPEED LIMITS

Speed limits in France are measured in KPH (Kilometres per Hour).
Toll Motorways 130 Kph
Two-way highways and Motorways 110 Kph
Paris beltway 80 Kph
Urban highways 90 Kph
Urban areas 50 Kph
Wet weather limits
Toll Motorways 110 Kph
Two-way highways and Motorways 100 Kph
Other roads 80 Kph

TOLLS

Most motorways in France are toll roads and identified by a blue sign.  Motorways without tolls can be identified by a green sign. Toll booths issue a ticket on entering which must be presented with payment when exiting.  Rates are determined by the distance traveled. Prices vary depending on the route.


DRIVING REQUIREMENTS

The minimum age to drive in France is 18.

DRIVER’S LICENSE

A valid International driver's license is required for foreigners to drive in France.

DOCUMENTATION

Always carry your international driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive their vehicle.

INSURANCE

Third-party insurance is compulsory.

CAR REQUIREMENTS

A warning triangle, spare light bulbs, flash light and a first aid box are required and  spare fuses and a fan belt are recommended.

SEATBELTS

Seatbelts are compulsory in front and rear seats.

HEADLIGHTS

Lights must be switched on in fog, mist or poor visibility, even during the day.

CHILDREN

Children under ten years of age must travel in the rear.

MOTORCYCLES

You are required to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, scooter or moped.
Motorcycles over 125cc must use dipped headlights at all times.

USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS

Police 17
Ambulance Service 17
Fire Service 18
Emergencies 112

SOURCES

Driving Alive
Driving Abroad
About.com
Discover France
Embassy of France in the U.S.
All Travel France

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