The following information is specific to driving in France. And will help you to ensure you stay safe whilst you are on holiday in France.
The Fédération Franšaise des Automobile-Clubs et des Usagers de la Route (FFAC) is at 8 place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris, tel. 0143124312.
The use of a warning triangle or hazard warning lights is compulsory in the event of a breakdown or accident. It is also compulsory that you have a visibility vest available (normally flourescent yellow) for each occupant in the vehicle. The vests should be stored in the vehicle, so if you do breakdown, you can put them on before getting out.
Motorways 130kph (80mph) in the dry or 110kph (68mph) in the wet, but on urban stretches 90kph (55mph), and 80kph (49mph) on the Paris ring road. Dual carriageways 110kph (68mph). Outside built-up areas 90kph (55mph). Built-up areas 50kph (31mph). Lower speed limits of 80kph (49mph) outside built-up areas.
110kph (68mph) on motorways apply in wet weather and to visiting motorists who have held a full driving licence for less than two years. In fog, 50kph (31mph) when visibility is reduced to 50m (55yds).
ACCOTEMENT NON STABILISE - Soft verges
ALLUMEZ VOS PHARES - Switch on lights
CEDEZ LE PASSAGE - Give way
CHAUSSEE DEFORMEE - Uneven road surface
CHANTIER - Road works
FIN D'INTERDICTION DE STATIONNEMENT - End of parking restriction
ITINERAIRE BIS - Alternative route
PASSAGE PROTEGE - Your right of way
PEAGE - Toll
POIDS LOURDS - Heavy vehicle route
PRIORITE A DROITE/GAUCHE - Priority to right/left
RAPPEL - Warning! (This literally means 'reminder', i.e. continue with the instruction given on the previous sign.)
ROUTE BARRE - Road closed
DOS D'ANE - Humpback
SENS INTERDIT - No entry
SENS UNIQUE - One way
SERREZ A DROITE/GAUCHE - Keep right/left
STATIONNEMENT INTERDIT - No parking
TOUTES DIRECTIONS - All directions
TRAVAUX - Road works
VIRAGES - Bends
CHEMIN SANS ISSUE - No through road
Your holiday journey may well be the longest car ride of the year, involving many miles of hard driving over unfamiliar roads. Mechanical repairs and replacement parts can be very expensive abroad, and many breakdowns occur because the car was not properly prepared before the journey.
Have your car serviced shortly before you go on holiday and carry out your own checks for any audible or visible defects.
warning triangles/headlamp converters/visibility vests
Make sure you have headlamp converters and a warning triangle (available from car spares shops).
Inspect all your tyres carefully, including the spare. The legal minimum depth of tread is 1.6mm across the whole width of the tyre, but if you think they are likely to be more than three-quarters worn by the time you get back, replace them before you leave. See that they are inflated to the pressures recommended in the manufacturer?s handbook.
Ensure that you have clear all-round vision. Your car should have outside wing mirrors on both sides which is important if you are driving a right-hand drive car in Europe. Detachable mirrors for use in Europe can be purchased from Halfords or similar stores.
seat belts and car stickers
Check that seat belts are properly fixed (their use is compulsory in Europe) and that your GB/IRL nationality plate is clearly visible on the rear of your car (and trailer if you are towing one).
Carry your passport, national driving licence, registration documents and insurance with you, as spot checks are quite common abroad. If you have an old driving licence (green) you may need an International Driving Licence.
please note : Breathalysers - the French government confirmed that from 1 July 2012 drivers of all motor vehicles and motorcycles must carry a breathalyser. Visit www.theaa.com
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