Driving in France

Driving in France

France has an excellent road and motorway network. Before driving in France you need to make sure to have everything from the list below:

  • Driving license
  • Proof of vehicle ownership or hire
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Headlamp beam deflector
  • Spare set of bulbs
  • Breathalyzer kit
  • Hazard warning triangle
  • Spare set of car keys
  • High-visibility waistcoats
  • Good vehicle condition
  • Map of France

French driving rules

Below you can find the major driving rules in France.

There are more than 150 unmarked police vehicles equipped with onboard speed cameras. Most of these patrol on motorways but can be found anywhere on the road. Vehicles clocked at over 140 Km/h in a 130 stretch of motorway are liable to get pulled a ticket and may be pulled over for an on-the-spot fine.

Most of the cameras are not easy to detect because they can be on any Renault Mégane, Citroën Berlingo or Peugeot 208 police cars.

Do not exceed speed limits

Some of the big old signs that used to warn drivers of an upcoming speed camera have been removed. But most of those have now been replaced by automatic speed detectors, which flash up the speed of each approaching car on a luminous panel. So the best thing to do is not exceed speed limits.

Breathalyzer

Since April 2013, carrying a breathalyzer with you in the car has been obligatory in France. But you are free to observe or not observe the rule, as there is no penalty for drivers caught without a breathalyzer in their car.

Using mobile phone

Drivers caught using a mobile phone while on the road in France are liable to an on-the-spot fine of 130 Euros – and 3 penalty points if they have a French driving license.

Drivers using radar detectors (speed camera detectors) are liable for a fine of 1500 Euros and 6 points off their license. This applies to specific radar warning devices, such as the Coyote, which must have their software updated to remain legal.

The minimum age

The minimum age for driving a car in France is 18 so no-one under the age of 18 can drive a car in France, even if he or she holds a valid license in another country.

Wine is available with meals in French motorway service areas – a fact that surprises a lot of visitors. But you should remember that the drink drive limit in France is 0.5 mg. per ml while in the UK it is 0.8 mg. per ml. The best thing to do is don’t drink and drive.

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