9 necessary things to know when driving a car in France
- Age allowed to drive a car in France
The age allowed for driving in France is 18 years. If you are only 17 years old, you will need to wait until you are 18 years old to drive in France - even though you have a license when you’re 17 year old in the UK. And to rent a car, you need to be 21 years old (but 25 years old seems more reasonable and more financially secure).
- Equipment and documentation required when driving a car in France
If you are a British citizen traveling to France, you will need a passport, driver's license (with photocopy) and a copy of your vehicle's passport before traveling to France. However, all drivers in France need more complicated things than that. Specifically: a triangular warning, a hi-vis protection jacket for each person in the car (remember to be within reach), an insurance certificate, a set of spare bulbs and instrument for checking alcohol concentration in breath. If you do not pay attention to the above, you will be fined if the French police ask for a stop.
- Absolutely not using radar detectors on the car
Using a radar detector or any speed camera warning system in France is illegal. That means using a satellite navigation system (sat nav) will be a violation of traffic laws in France. Do not activate any system that will alert you when it comes to speed traps - the penalty for this is to confiscate the equipment, keep the car and pay a fine of 1,500 euros.
- How to handle situations when the car encounters an accident?
If you have an accident in France, you and the other party need to fill out a form explaining all things. This is called 'constat amiable'. Unless you are fluent in French or a good English-speaking partner, call the insurance company and ask if the company has a bilingual representation.
- Speed limit when driving in France
The vehicle speed measured in France is km / h. According to the preliminary guidance, if the roadside has houses, the maximum speed of the car stopped at 50k / h. If there is no roadside house, the maximum speed can be reached is 90km / h. On the two-way street, the maximum speed of cars allowed is 110 km / h; while on the highway, allowing cars to run at a maximum speed of 130 km / h. Be aware of speed and legal compliance if you do not want to be delayed on your trip because of a stop to pay a fine or to keep your car and driver's license.
- Driving law in France in winter
The French did not mind moving their vehicles in the snow, even in the mountains around the Alps. The driver is prohibited from crossing the mountain terrain without the snow chains (chaussettes à neige). You can buy tire chains at a gas station near a snow-covered place. Remember to remove the chain before moving into the tunnel, because the chain will damage the road surface and, of course, in the tunnel, there isn’t snow, so removing the chain is reasonable.
- Car control in Paris
Public transport should be preferred if you want to explore Paris
Even many "good" drivers are quite hesitant when driving in France during peak hours. Avoid driving across the capital if you can. If Paris is your final destination, it is better to leave your car at home. Driving in Paris is really stressful, finding a parking lot is a daunting task. The best advice for you is to use public transport.
- Gas station in France
Be sure to tell your bank that you are traveling abroad and check your credit card in France before deciding to get gas. Some gas stations only pay for the card by entering a pin at the store outside of business hours, and even some in France use this form of payment at lunch break.
- Roundabout in France
Traffic laws in France require that all means of transport be lifted up from the right, which makes it difficult for visitors to reach the roundabout. When you see a yellow rhombus-shaped instruction board on a larger white background, which means you have the right of priority - this is the case in most major.
By: Judith Edwards