Driving In France
With the recent introduction of the first 3D road crossing in France pedestrians enter a new era. The 3D crossing in Cysoing Northern France is being used to persuade motorist to slow down.
In France waiting on the pavement by a crossing is a waste of time. In order to get drivers to stop you have to put at least 1 or maybe even 2 steps into the road to secure your safe passage.
Zebra crossings in France are rarely marked or illuminated. They often do not have a central island.
In a recent visit to Le Touquet I was impressed with the novel way in which many crossings are being marked. A reflective Red and Blue person is resident stepping onto the crossing on each side of the road. In the dark these cheerful figures show up in your headlights and give drivers a better chance to stop. With the installation of these figures motorists have advanced warning of a crossing.
Drivers who fail to observe pedestrian crossings can expect to have six points added to their driving licence.
Driving In France - General Tips
Drivers often don’t stop – so don’t start walking – unless you’re feeling very brave. French pedestrians often cross at odd points along the road with no zebra crossing so be wary. Often you will find crossings at the exit from roundabouts, exactly where drivers are looking to speed up, so take extra care.
What Does Rappel on a French road sign mean?
Rappel is a reminder that speed restrictions are still in place, stick to the specified limit until you see a different speed sign.
Drive on the right
This should be obvious but many accidents are caused this way every year. Pay particular attention if you are doing a U turn close to a junction. It sounds silly put stick a post it note on your dashboard “Drive on the Right!
Priority on the right
In France when you enter an urban area you will need to give priority to the right. This is a strange rule that we all just have to remember. You must give way to motorists turning onto the road you are on, and in the direction you are travelling.
What driving equipment do I need in France?
You’ll need a full driving licence, insurance and car registration documents. You also need to have with you a warning triangle, headlight adaptors to drive on the right, and a sticker showing your country of origin. With Brexit on the horizon it may also be advisable to obtain an international driving licence from your local post office.
What is the national speed limit in France?
On French motorways the limit is 130km/h, on certain sections of road this reduces to 110km/h. When it’s raining speed limits are lowered and a 130km/h limit will be reduced to 110km/h.
Do I need a GB sticker to drive in France?
Yes unless you have a GB logo as part of an EU number plate.
Do I need my v5 Registration Document to drive in France?
Yes you will need your V5 UK certificate of registration.
Do I need to change my headlights when driving in France?
It is important to deflect your headlight beams right to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic. Stick on adaptor kits are readily available for all makes of cars. The fitting instructions are sometimes difficult to understand so it’s worth reading these in advance. By reading in advance you’ll find it much easier if you have to fit them whilst on the car deck of a cross channel ferry. If you do need to buy headlight beam adaptors then order them in advance from online retailers. You will be charged around £10 on the ferry – online prices are around £3.50.
Many modern cars allow you to adjust the direction of your headlights by flipping a switch.
Do I need spare bulbs to drive in France?
Whilst this is a good idea it is not a legal requirement.
Do I need to carry a breathalyser in France?
Yes and No, this was for a short period a legal requirement but the law has changed. You are still required to carry them but you cannot be fined for not having them. Obviously it’s a useful thing to have in your car if you are in any doubt about the alcohol levels in your system. Single use items are readily available online – but if you have them for a while be sure to regularly check the expiry date. You are allowed a maximum of 0.5mg/ml of alcohol per litre in your blood, compared to 0.8mg/ml in the UK.
European Break Down Cover.
Check your current cover is valid for France. You can often upgrade or take another policy. There are many deals available depending on the level of cover required, shop around for the best deal.
Are Sat Navs illegal in France?
Using a Sat Nav in France is completely legal but check the speed camera notifications. French law dictates that motorists must not use sat navs which can actively warn of speed camera locations. Garmin has official statements on their website describing exactly the steps required to make your device legal in France. The Tom Tom radar service is not available in France. Google have confirmed that speed camera warnings will not be available to users in France.
Can I use dash cam in France?
Yes but, recorded evidence must only be sent directly to the police.