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Useful Tips on Driving in France

Mar 1, 2008
Every year, thousands of foreign drivers will take to the French roads. Many will be on holiday, some will be coming to France on business or to purchase a property, some will be passing through on the way to other destinations. All will be exposed to certain different driving requirements to adhere to.

Quite a number of people tend to disregard certain points thinking that the chances of getting caught are slim, and anyway thinking they are foreigners, they imagine that they can be excused.

Do not underestimate the chances of getting a fine, as radar checks are numerous. You can even lose your licence if you exceed the speed limit by 25 k/h and speeding fines are imposed on the spot. So keep to the limits and enjoy your trip rather than have any problems.

It is worthwhile to remember that when the roads are wet, the speed limit is reduced.

On the motorway the limit of 130k/h is reduced to 120k/h when conditions are wet. On the dual carriage way the limit is 110k/h and reduced to 100k/h when conditions are wet. Keep watching for the various signs such as going through towns where the 50k/h sign will appear.

Don't get caught without wearing your seat belts in the front, as well as making sure the passengers at the back are wearing them too.

Remember that the minimum age allowed to drive in France is 18.

As far as the headlamps are concerned, yes they must have converters, and when the visibility conditions are not good, you are required to keep the dipped headlights on.

As for the roundabouts, the priority is given to the vehicles coming from your left.

You may also find it useful to know some of the following expressions and words:

1. To be out of petrol = Tomber en panne d' essence
2. To break down = Tomber en panne
3. Switch the engine off = Coupez le moteur
4. No entry = Sens interdit
5. Tyre = Pneu
6. Keep going straight on = Continuez tout droit
7. Petrol station = Poste d' essence
8. To have a puncture = Crever
9. I will arrive late = J' arriverai tard
10. It would be better to take the car = Il vaudrait mieux de prendre la voiture
11. To move towards = Se diriger vers
12. It is not serious/ do not worry about it = Ce n' est pas grave
13. To set off = Se mettre en route
14. To come back = Revenir
15. To leave = Partir
16. To arrive = Arriver
17. To go = Aller
18. The battery = La batterie
19. Wheel = Roue
20. At the wheel = Au Volant
21. Brake = Frein
22. Driving licence = Permis de conduire
23. To drive too fast = Aller trop vite
24. Crash one' s car into = Faire rentrer sa voiture dans
25. To crash into = Rentrer dans
26. There is no hurry = Rien ne presse
27. To come = Venir
About the Author
Paul Dubsky is director of Foreign Currency Exchange & Transfers Ltd. The company is focused on being able to offer really friendly currency exchange rates andinternational money transfers. We believe we are the only Foreign Currency Exchange company which offers special rates to Senior Citizens.
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