Driving Tips in France - Sixt rent a car


Driving in France can be a very different experience from our familiar UK roads, so please look through our Sixt tips for advice and essential motoring information for drivers visiting France.

Driving Tips France
Driving Tips in Germany

Rules & Regulations

Here are some rules and driving tips that you should know before you start your road trip in France:

  • Normal driving is on the right, with passing and overtaking on the left. Where there are designated traffic lanes, vehicles may ‘overtake’ traffic on the right occupying slow-moving lanes. On steep hills in France, uphill traffic has priority - downhill traffic must give way.
  • A great tip to know when driving in France is at all intersections, priority must be given to traffic approaching from the right, unless there are road signs indicating otherwise.
  • Always give way to police and other emergency vehicles.
  • Horns must only be used where there is immediate danger. During the hours of darkness, warnings should be given by flashing lights instead.
  • The Drink Driving maximum limit in France is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Police are allowed to make random breath tests.
  • carriageways; 90 km/h on other roads; and 50 km/h in built-up areas. These limits are reduced in the event of bad weather and/or poor visibility.
  • Reduced speed limits also apply for new drivers, and drivers under the age of 21.
  • Speed camera detectors, including onboard sat nav features, are illegal in France - so download the latest sat nav maps for France to avoid this problem.
  • On motorways, only the official breakdown service may be used – make contact via orange emergency phones.
  • When driving in France a tip to bear in mind is it is illegal to allow passengers to travel inside a moving caravan. Child passengers under 10 must use an approved child restraint. In France, the type of restraint specified depends on the weight of the child.
Sixt rent a car Speed Limits Advice

Speed Limits

Here are the speed limits to abide by when driving in France in dry weather:

  • Rural 2 & 3 lane roads are a maximum of 90 km/h
  • 4 lane expressways are a maximum of 110 km/h
  • Highways are a maximum of 130 km/h in rural area
  • There is a maximum of 50 km/h in urban areas

These limits are then adjusted when raining to 80 km/h, 100 km/h & 110 km/h. It is also worth noting a driving tip for the Paris Ring Road is has a limit of 80 km/h.

Papers Bring Along - Sixt Driving Tips

Things to Bring Along

The following documents should be carried at all times, when driving in France:

  • Proof of ID – usually a passport
  • Proof of Insurance – (see your Sixt hire documents)
  • Proof of ownership – a Vehicle on Hire Certificate (see your Sixt hire documents)
  • A current, full UK driving licence – driver must be at least 18 years old in France

For driving in France, your car will need a GB Sticker, and the law specifies that vehicles must also carry the following items of equipment:

  • A red warning triangle
  • A high-visibility reflective jacket
  • Headlamp adjusters
  • Breathalyser testing kit
Driving Tips from Sixt rent a car

Additional Information

  • Petrol costs are about the same as in the UK, but diesel is around 15 per cent cheaper.
  • The word ‘Péage’ at the bottom of a motorway sign indicates a toll motorway.
  • Take care when braking suddenly – French drivers don’t always leave a safe ‘stopping distance’.
  • On road signs, the word ‘Bis’ in italics indicates a holiday route and usually offers a scenic and less-crowded alternative.
  • A driving tip to avoid a fine in France, police have the power to levy on-the-spot fines of up to €375 for traffic offences – for example, the use of a mobile phone attracts a €130 penalty.

Now you have read our tips for driving in France why not check out some of the other great destination we have covered, these include Germany, Italy and the USA.

* Please note: All information was correct at the time of publication.

Important signs in France

French driving signs