Print Posted By Lost in France on 22 Sep 2005 in Living in France - Driving in France

Driving in France

A car is a convenient way to move around in France, roads are well maintained, outside of the main cities congestion is almost never heard of, the French road network includes over 5000 miles of motorways, and many are Peage (toll roads) which link all the main provincial towns and cities.

Cars in France drive on the right.
All passengers must wear seat-belts.
Bus lanes are reserved exclusively for buses, taxis and bicycles.
Drivers license, insurance certificate and vehicle registration documents must be presented at any roadside controls.

Services are on the Paige?

Paige's in France are generally not busy and covering great distances is relaxing and generally not expensive. Approximately every 10km there are rest areas for short stops where you can take a break. Every 30 or 40 km you will find service stations and restaurants serving coffee and snacks.  Approximately every 100km you will find motels where you can park up and hire a room for the night.
Most motorway service stations have 'baby corners' with changing facilities and high chairs.
Highway tolls in France are generally cheap, and travellers should be prepared to stop several times during their trip to pay (toll booths are called Peages). Cash and all major credit cards are accepted.

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Getting Around

Road maps can be found in bookstores and in all service stations. I.G.N. maps give the most detailed coverage of France. Michelin maps cover main road networks and regions.
Highway Code
Unless indicated otherwise, speed limits are 50km/h in towns, 80km/h on the Paris periphery and 90km/h on main roads, 110 km/h on dual carriage ways and 130 km/h on motorways - Please note these speed restrictions change when it rains, e.g. 130 km/h reduces to 110 km/h.
Please pay attention to the speed limits, the police are regularly set up mobile speed cameras.
Vehicles on main roads have priority. In cities and towns the right of way is sometimes given to vehicles coming in from the right, pay particular attention to any signs displaying a large flashing 'X indicating you do not have priority! Even if it appears that you have right of way.

Before Setting Off

For information on road conditions, consult regional information centers before you set off:

Ile-de-France/Centre 33 (0) 1 48 99 33 33
North 33 (0) 3 20 47 33 33
East 33 (0) 3 87 63 33 33
West 33 (0) 2 99 32 33 33
South-West 33 (0) 5 56 96 33 33
Rhone-Alpes/Auvergne 33 (0) 4 72 81 57 33
Mediterranean 33 (0) 4 91 78 78 78
For motorway conditions throughout France:
Autoroute info 33 (0) 1 47 05 90 01

In case of an accident

If you are hiring a 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 or a refusal to complete the form, you should immediately obtain a constat d'huissier. This is a written report from a bailiff (huissier). In the event of a dispute, call the police so that it can make out an official report. In the event of an injury, call the SAMU (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 accidents impede traffic flow. Please notify your car hire office as soon as possible.

Break Downs

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, emergency phones are located every 2km. The use of warning triangles or hazard warning lights is mandatory in the event of an accident or break down.
Information provided courtesy of France Car Hire
UK Free phone number : 0800 032 1701



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