Driving in France – Rules and regulations

First and for mostly, anyone moving to France will be aware that you drive on the right!! The wearing of seatbelts front and rear is compulsory. Failure to wear one will result in an on the spot fine. Oddly, if the car is very old and there aren’t any seat belts in the rear, than this rule is overlooked. Children under 10 must wear a seat belt adapted for them or be strapped into a child seat. If a car seat or baby seat is used in the front seat, it must be forward-facing unless the passenger-side airbag has been turned off.

Mobile phones must not be used when driving, unless you are using a hands free set.

You must carry a red triangle warning sign, a florescent, high vis. Jacket/vest. If you break down the red triangle must be placed 30yards from your car. You MUST wear your high vis jacket/waistcoat when attending your car It is compulsory to carry your cars registration documents, insurance documents and your driving licence. You must have, at the very least, Third party insurance.

As bizarre as it sounds, pedestrians have right of way when crossing a road, if they indicate by a hand gesture or by stepping out they intend to cross!! This rule does not apply if they are close to a zebra crossing (around 50 metres). You could incur 4 points on your licence and a fine!!

Yet another bizarre sounding rule is cyclists can go the wrong way down a one way road, if the limit is under 30km or there is a sign telling them they must not.
If you are a new arrival in France it may be possible to exchange a UK driver’s licence for a French one, or continue driving on an EU-issued licence indefinitely. For all others, if you learn to drive in France then French rules apply.

Under EU law, a private vehicle may used on French roads for up to six months in any 12 months. If you intend to live in France and drive your UK car, there are laws which must be adhered to.

The immatriculation is a vehicle’s registration. The details of a vehicle’s registration are carried in the Certificate d’Immatriculation.

Before being able to register a foreign vehicle in France and receive the Certificate d’Immatriculation registration document, the vehicle must conform to the French road standards. The process is different for classic vehicles; it can be very complicated for modified vehicles.

France has strict drink-drive laws – our advice would be not to drink if you are driving. However, blood alcohol levels being stricter than in the UK (0.5 mg/ml rather than 0.8). It is difficult or us to translate this into how many glasses as the size of glass varies!!

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