French speed limits
||130kmph /81 mph
|Towns and villages
If you have a pre planned route
print-out ie 'Via Michelin' then zero the mileage if
it has not been preset, as this is a good as-you-go
indicator as to at what distance you should have to
look for, or react to signs or instructions.
If you lose your
way in a town or village the best solution is to
follow either "Toutes Directions" or "Autres Directions" ( the latter if you cannot see a
specific sign to where you are going.). This will
normally take you to an interchange or roundabout on
the outskirts where it should be possible to pick up
the correct route. It also handy
to take a small
torch for map reading just in case your journey
takes longer than you think—or indeed a different
direction!—and you need to rely on your navigator in
the passenger seat if your car is not fitted with 'sat-nav'.
Motorways or Dual-Carriageways are clearly
signposted but beware that some exits also serve for
traffic joining the major road.
Do not forget
that most accidents involving British drivers
occur at roundabouts where you must go to the right
and give way to traffic on your left.
ARRIVING IN FRANCE REMEMBER THAT PETROL STATIONS ARE
RARELY MANNED AFTER 7PM.
After that time
they use the French charge cards. They may not take UK charge and credit cards even the
new Chip and Pin cards though this seems to be
getting less common. The cheapest places to
purchase fuel are at the large supermarkets.
• Motorcycles over 125cc must use
dipped headlights during the day at all times.
Drivers who are
going to be spending any time in France should try
to familiarise themselves with all the rules of the
road, including traffic signals, signposting,
road-markings, speed limits etc..
euros with you - small change- for paying peage/tolls as some are not manned at all times--and
remember if you are in a right-hand drive car its your passenger who pays!
If you have an accident.
If you are in a
hire car and are unfortunate enough to have an
accident, you must fill out a damage assessment form
(you will find them in the glove compartment of your
rental car or you may request it from your insurance
company) It must be signed by the other party, and
in the event of a dispute / refusal to complete the
form, you should immediately obtain a constat
d'huissier (or so everyone advises us) ,this is a
written report from a bailiff (huissier) but where
you find one is a mystery to us. Perhaps they live
in small huts by the side of the road waiting to be
called upon to give an opinion. When we find out
we’ll let you know. In the event of an injury, call
the SAMU, ambulance,(15) or the fire brigade (18).
The police are only called out to accidents when
someone is injured, a driver is under the influence
of alcohol or the accident impedes the flow of
traffic. Please notify your car hire company as soon
If your car
breaks down, try to move it to the side of the road
so that it obstructs the traffic flow as little as
possible. You are advised to seek local assistance
as, at the present time there is no nationwide road
assistance service in France. On auto routes use the
orange SOS phones which are situated every 2 km on
motorways and every 4 km on dual carriageways and
other major roads. Each one has a number. You will
be expected to give your name, your location and
your vehicle details.The use of warning triangles or
hazard warning lights is mandatory in the event of
an accident or break down.
Know the signs.
Give way to
right Give way to
left and right Stop-full stop!
priority You have
Take special note of last two
signs as the 'Prioity ends' means you can have
someone pulling out in front of you from the right
because they have
! An apparently ancient rule that still applies,
sometimes bizarrely but one you must adhere to.
You should also know the
Directions - other directions.
passage - give way.
Péage - Toll.
Sortie - exit.
Directions - All directions.
Aire de repos
- Rest stops
Allumez vos lanterns (or feux) - Turn on your
Attention au feu - Beware of traffic signal
Attention travaux - Beware roadworks
Chaussèe dèformèe - Bumpy road ahead
Centre ville - Town centre
Ferme - Closed
Gendarmerie - Police station
Gravillons - Loose chippings
Nids de poules - Potholes
Ouvert - Open
Rappel - Remember
Route barrèe - Road closed
Sens-unique - One-way
Serrez a droite - Keep to the right
Suivre - Follow
Sur - On
Vitesse adapteè sècuritè - Adapt your speed
Voie unique - One lane road
Voitures - Cars
Car Check List
1.Reserve your car well in
advance especially if you are booking for the
holiday season. And always remember to get the best
rates, book on line. Just like with airline tickets,
early bookings ensure better value.
2.Bring you Driving
License, Credit Card and Rental Voucher with you on
collection of your car.
with all the driving instruments and find out what
type of fuel your car takes.
4.Check to see if there is
any additional charge if returning your car to a
different location than where you collected it,
known as a one-way rental.
5. Book your infant or
child seat well in advance, most car companies have
a limited supply. Check for any additional charges.
6. Always check the car
rental company’s fuel policy before starting your
rental. Check if the car should be returned full of
petrol or empty, as it could cost extra on your
7. Always inspect the car
for any marks and dents that are not stated on your
contract, before you drive away be happy with the
condition of the car, you can always change the car
or model if not satisfied.
8. Check the rental company
has provided you with a road map of the area you are
travelling and plan you journey before driving away.
9. Remember if you want a
second named driver that they must have a full
drivers license with them, which they must produce
themselves at the rental agency. There is usually a
small additional charge for a second driver.
10. As most rental
accidents happen on the first day of rental, Extra
concentration is needed when starting off as you may
be driving on a different side of the road.
Check out the website
http://www.autoroutes.fr/en/homepage.html for great information on driving in France.
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