Driving in France
You must be at least 18 years old to drive a car or motorcycle (over 80cc) after passing a driving test and at least 16 years old to ride a motorcycle up to 80cc.
You must have a minimum of third-party insurance cover.
Most filling stations accept credit. Cards issued in the UK aren’t always accepted at automatic pumps operated by credit/debit card.
Most electric vehicle charging stations in France work with swipe cards (badges de recharge).
In Leclerc, Auchan and other major service stations and supermarkets you can borrow a ‘badges de recharge’ from their shop during opening hours. They may ask to see the registration certificate for the vehicle and may also ask for a small deposit for the card. You can use the recharging stations in LeClerc using your loyalty card.
The most popular and extensive networks are KiwHi Pass and Sodetrel.
KiwHi Pass: http://www.kiwhipass.fr/la-carte.html
Speed limits in France are determined by place, vehicle and by the weather. (Standard legal limits which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers)
In wet weather or if you’ve held a driving licence for less than three years, lower limits apply:
· You must use dipped headlights in poor daytime visibility.
Drinking and driving
It’s compulsory to carry:
· You must not use headphones and headsets (any device that is attached to the ear) when driving. o This applies to all drivers and riders for phone calls and also listening to music/radio etc. o Bluetooth or integrated systems in a motorcycle helmet are still permitted.
· It’s recommended that you carry a spare set of bulbs.
· It’s recommended that snow tyres (marked M&S) are used on roads covered with ice or snow. These must have minimum tread depth of 3.5mm.
· The sign “priorité a droite” (often seen in built-up areas) means give way to traffic coming from the right.
· At signed roundabouts bearing the words "Vous n'avez pas la priorité" or "Cédez le passage" traffic on the roundabout has priority; where no such sign exists, traffic entering the roundabout has priority.
· You must not overtake a stationary tram when passengers are boarding or getting off.
· You can obtain parking discs for ‘blue zone’ parking areas from police stations, tourist offices and some shops.
· When overtaking a bicycle, you must leave a distance of at least 1m in builtup areas and 1.50m outside built-up areas between your vehicle and the bicycle.
· You must not use your horn in built up areas except in cases of immediate danger.
· A device with a screen which can distract a driver (such as television, video or DVD equipment) must be positioned so that the driver is unable to see them. You must not touch or program any device unless parked in a safe place.
· If you’re towing a trailer, it must have two red lights, two triangular reflectors and a light illuminating the registration plate at the rear and orange reflectors on each side. If the trailer is more than 1.6m wide or is wider than your vehicle by more than 20cm there must be two white reflectors and two white side lights at the front of the trailer.
Low Emission Zone (LEZ) Crit’ Air Vignette
Low emission zones – either full time or ‘emergency’ – are being introduced across France and, so far, affect Paris, Lyon, Lille and Grenoble. Strasbourg is expected to follow in Autumn 2017.
The zones restrict access to all types of vehicles including passenger cars and motorcycles. If you drive in one of these restricted areas, you’ll have to display a ‘Vignette’ (sticker) in your windscreen.
Failure to purchase and display the vignette will mean a fine between €68 and €135
You can read more and apply for a vignette on the official website (In English) here: https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/en/
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