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5th July 2018

Planning To Drive To France This Summer? Be Aware Of New Speed Limits On Single Lane Roads

As of 1st July 2018, speed limits on some roads in France have been reduced – and there won’t be signs to remind you!

To try to reduce fatal accidents on roads in France, the French government has reduced the speed limit on single lane roads without a central reservation to 80 km/h (or 50 mph). The move is expected to prevent 300-400 road deaths each year. The move should also reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

The speed limit on roads with two lanes in one direction and one lane in the opposite direction, and with no central reservation, remains at 90 km/h. Roads with a central reservation, either two or four lane, also keep a speed limit of 90 km/h.

Driving to the French Alps from the UK

Overview of Speed Limits in France

Speed limits in France can be difficult to work out, so here’s a quick overview;

  • Motorways - 130 km/h (80 mph), reduced down to 110 km/h (68 mph) in bad weather – fog, rain and snow)
  • Dual carriageway with central reservation - 90 km/h (56 mph) or 110 km/h (68 mph) (if shown)
  • Single carriageway with central reservation - 90 km/h (56 mph)
  • Single carriageway with NO central reservation – NEW speed limit of 80 km/h (50 mph)
  • Urban areas, towns and villages - 50 km/h (31 mph)

These speed limits apply unless otherwise stated.

Other Useful Things To Know About Driving In France

As well as driving on the right(!) - an easy mistake to make straight off the ferry – and “priorite a droite” (give priority to the right), it’s worth knowing:

Things to Have in the Car

Things to have in the car when driving from the uk to france

A checklist of the things you should carry in your car when driving in France:

  • driver’s licence
  • car registration documents
  • insurance documents
  • disposable breath-test kit (though there is no fine if you don’t have one!)
  • a warning triangle
  • a high visibility safety vest
  • headlights in working order, and spare headlight bulbs (check the directional glare too and use headlight converters )
  • A GB sticker with an EU logo (for now!)
  • A Crit-Air sticker if you plan to visit certain cities andtowns, more info here: https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/news/motoring-news/law-change-for-uk-drivers-in-french-cities/

Failure to present any of these items can mean an immediate fine, of 135€ or 180€, depending on the missing item.

Driving & Alcohol

The legal alcohol limit in France is 0.5g of alcohol per litre of blood. In England and Wales, it is 0.8g and in Scotland 0.5g.

Seatbelts & Children

Seatbelts are compulsory for all passengers (135€ fine).

Children under the age of 10 must sit in the back of a car and in an age or weight appropriate car seats. Rear-facing baby seats can go on the front passenger seat so long as the car’s airbag has been disabled.

Other Rules When Driving In France

Driving in the french alps holiday summer

Make sure you STOP at a STOP sign – for a count of 3 – as well as at a red traffic light lights (stop when they change to amber). Failure to do either can mean a fine of up to 135€.

While driving it is also against the law, and you could be fined, to:

  • Use a mobile phone that isn’t completely hands-free
  • Eat food or snacks
  • Apply make-up
  • Read a map
  • Use headphones
  • Smoke in a car carrying a child aged 12 or below.

Cars are not allowed satnavs which detect speed cameras or police radars, including mobile phones with apps. Even if the device is not in use, a fine of €1.5k could be payable.

Accidents & Breakdowns

If you are involved in any accident with at least one other vehicle, you need to complete a "constat amiable" (an amiable declaration) by the other driver. If possible, call your insurance company at the time of the accident. If you are involved in an accident causing any sort of injury -even if it is not your fault- you stay at the scene until the police arrive.

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