Driving in France started as a scary experience!
1. Driving on the right
2. Manual Cars (= voitures manuelles)
3. Speed limits (= limites de vitesse)
- On entering a town or village, the moment you pass the sign (= panneau) with a town’s name, the speed limit becomes 50km/h. Right after you leave the town, which is signified by the town name’s sign crossed out, then you can return to the country speed of 90km/h.
- On a freeway (= autoroute) , the speed limit is 130km/h (reduced to 110km/h in case of rain, fog, etc).
The nice thing about freeways compared to here in Australia is that people tend to stick to the right hand lanes unless they are overtaking, and they follow this rule religiously over in France.
4. Roundabouts (= rond-points)
- In Australia, go around the roundabout in a clockwise direction. In France, go around the roundabout in an anti-clockwise direction.
- In Australia, never change lane inside a roundabout. In France, you do (but don’t forget to make a headcheck first!). That’s also why it’s important to indicate your intentions before exiting.
In Australia, if it’s a two lane roundabout and you’re in the outer most lane, then you stay in the outer most lane for the duration you are in the roundabout, if you are in the inner most lane then you stay in the inner most lane for the duration you are in the roundabout.
In France, if you plan to take the first exit i.e to turn right (remember: we’re going anti-clockwise!) or to go straight, approach the roundabout from the right/outer most lane. If you plan to take one of the furthest exits/to turn left, approach the roundabout from the left/inner most lane, indicating left. Enter the roundabout to its center and a bit before you reach your exit, change lane to proceed to the outer side of the roundabout (indicate right and make a good headcheck!!). If the roundabout is too busy, that may mean you needing to go around it a few times before you manage to make your way to the outside and finally the exit!
That’s why driving around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris is a nightmare and there are so many accidents: it’s an 8-lane roundabout with no visible lanes painted on the ground!
5. Priority to the right / Priority roads (= priorité à droite / routes à caractère prioritaire)
6. Others: my tips for you!
- Big cities
- Practice in a small town first.
- Smaller roads