Home Culture Up to speed in 5 minutes: essential guide to driving in France

Up to speed in 5 minutes: essential guide to driving in France

by Tash 16th April 2015
Driving in France

If you’re planning a self-drive holiday to France by ferry, or hiring a car from a local airport, it’s essential that you know how to navigate safely once you hit the road. Look no further than our expert guide to driving in France, designed to get you up to speed on essential road rules and regulations in just 5 minutes!

Drive on the right – Clear signage on major roads will help you stick to the right, but when exiting garages or turning into a quiet road it’s up to you to remember to take the right hand lane.

Giving way to traffic – in built-up areas the old rule of giving priority to traffic coming from the right (priorité a droite) still applies, unless a yellow diamond indicates you have priority.

Speed limits – Towns/ built up areas (50 kmph); Open roads (110 kmph); Motorways (130 kmph). Anyone caught travelling more than 25 kmph above the speed limit can have their license confiscated on the spot.

Alcohol limits – France has stricter drink driving laws than the UK. Our advice? Don’t drink any alcohol and drive.

Breathalysers – it’s a legal requirement for all cars to carry single-use breathalysers.

What to do if you break down – place your warning triangle – an essential piece of driving abroad kit – at least 16 feet (5 m) behind your car to warn oncoming traffic.

Driving with kids – Children under 10 are only allowed to travel in the front seats if there are no rear seats in the car, or rear seats are being used by younger children.

Understanding signage – on certain road signs you will see the term: bis. These directions indicate less-crowded main roads.

Refuelling – petrol and diesel are commonly sold across France, with LPG sold at larger stations. Learn the lingo for the fuel you need: Sans Plomb (unleaded petrol), Gazole/diesel (diesel).

Now you’re revved up and road-ready, why not check out all of the self-catering holidays to France we have to offer? Book with us and you’ll get tons more navigation support, including an online route planner, TomTom download and directions from port/ airport to the campsite gates.

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