Our new Driving Tips series gives you the need-to-know advice for driving abroad!
Driving in France can be quite a different experience from our familiar UK roads, so please look through our Sixt tips for advice and essential motoring information for drivers visiting France.
Speed Limits in France
Here are the speed limits to abide by when driving in France in dry weather. These limits are then adjusted when raining to 80 km/h, 100 km/h and 110 km/h. It is also worth noting a driving tip for the Paris Ring Road is has a limit of 80 km/h.
|Rural 2 & 3 lane roads||90 km/h|
|4 lane expressways||110 km/h|
|Urban Areas||50 km/h|
France Rules and 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.
- Reduced speed limits also apply for new drivers and drivers under the age of 21.
- Speed camera detectors, also when used by onboard sat nav systems are illegal in France. Make sure to stick to the speed limits dictated below.
- 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. When hiring a car with a baby seat add-on make sure to choose the correct size for your child.
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 and 110 km/h. It is also worth noting a driving tip for the Paris Ring Road is has a limit of 80 km/h.
What to Bring Along
The following documents should be carried at all times, when driving in France:
- Proof of ID – usually a passport
- Proof of Car Insurance
- Proof of ownership – a Vehicle on Hire Certificate (see your Sixt hire documents)
- A current, full UK driving licence – drivers must be at least 18 years old in France
For driving your private car in France, your vehicle 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
- Note: All Sixt car rentals in France come equipped with this equipment
- 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.
Rely on Sixt in France for all your driving needs
We have many car hire branches across France, including locations in regions and cities such as Lyon, Nice, Paris and Toulouse which are all ideal locations to begin a road trip or driving holiday. We have varied choices of vehicle categories such as economy cars, convertibles, luxury cars, and 4x4s; many of which come with Loss Damage Waiver and Third Party Protection included in the price as standard. Still unsure about the French rules of the road? Our helpful staff in the Sixt branch will gladly answer any questions you may have when picking up your vehicle.
Passionate about travel, Katie likes to eat her way through as many different countries as possible.