Despite much protest, July 1st will see a change of the national speed limit from 90 kph to 80 kph. The national speed limit applies to roads outside of the boundaries of towns/villages (not on on the main autoroutes which remain at either 110 kph or 130 kph). With an increasing number of speed cameras on these roads, it really does pay to keep to the speed limits!
Some of the other changes which have come into effect see a tightening of the laws surrounding the use of mobile phones whilst driving after a test case in the Paris courts. Unless you have a fully integrated hands-free phone, you now must only make/receive a call, send an SMS or use your phone in any other when you are parked in a designated parking space/car park; on your own drive.
The website About France have publish a very useful guide to the changes and other driving advice too.
One of the most common ways in which people are caught speeding is on entering a town/village. Most people are unaware that when you pass the sign with the name of the town on it, the speed limit automatically becomes 50 kph unless otherwise indicated. Another nuance in France, particularly when driving through towns & villages, is the dreaded “priorité a droite” – giving way to traffic joining the road from your right… although after 10 years of living in France we can’t understand the logic, be aware that an increasing number of small villages are adopting this practice.
More details about priorité a driote & other helpful advice can be found on our website section travelling in France Information on this page is not just about driving in France, you will also find some tips of currency, opening hours and banking – helpful even if you are a regular visitor.
As a footnote, it’s worth mentioning a phone app which we have used over the past 18 months and can highly recommend. If you have a smart phone, download the app “Waze” This app is, in essence, a sat nav that uses very little of your data plan (even if roaming). We have used it in various European countries and with car rental companies often charging a sat nav (even if built into the car) as an added extra, it could also save you money too.
Waze is also interactive and allows you and other “wazers” to report accidents, traffic problems, petrol prices, etc. and with this live information, it means that route advice is kept up to date by the minute.