Driving Differences- Rules of the Road

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Driving Differences- Rules of the Road

Post by Katie and Julien on Fri 14 Aug - 21:06

The rules of the road in France and in Canada are fairly similar, but there are a few slight differences, so here are a few key ideas to keep in mind when driving in France.

1. Stick shift- 90% of cars in France are manual engines, automatics are slowly becoming more popular, but they aren't very prevalent. If you're planning on renting a car and can't drive a stick shift, book early and specify that you need an automatic. Rental agencies in Brest do have automatics, but they are few and far between and often more expensive.

2. Toll Highways- If you're planning on doing cross-country driving, don't forget to factor in tolls. An return trip to Paris will cost about 50€ but ensures well maintained roads and a speed limit of 130 km/h. All highways in Brittany are free, but limited to 110km/h.

3. The passing lane in NOT the driving lane- Contrary to the belief of many Canadian drivers, the left lane is not just the 'fast lane', it is indeed for passing. In France, drivers move into the passing lane, pass and then move back over as quickly as possible. You cannot sit in the passing lane and doing so will result in a whole lot of honking.

4. Automatic speed traps- There are fewer police officers on the roads in France, but there are automatic, permanent speed cameras. They take a picture of your plate if you are caught speeding, more than 7km/h over the limit. However, the French are nice enough to give you a heads up about 2km before the camera. So keep your eyes open for a little grey box on the side of the road and once you've passed it, speed on.

5. Roundabouts- The French (and all of Europe) LOVE a good roundabout. Traffic lights are few and far between and multi-lane roundabouts are everywhere. If you need a reminder of how to properly enter/exit a roundabout, here it is:


6. Right hand priority
A mind-boggling concept for me when I first started driving in France is the idea of 'right-hand priority' or 'Priorité à Droite' in French. It is similar to what exists in Canada but taken one step further. When driving, be aware of the side streets, if a side street on your right hand side does not have a traffic sign (stop or yield) this car has priority and you must slow to let them into traffic. This phenomenon is fairly common in downtown Brest.

Katie and Julien

Posts : 5
Join date : 2015-08-14
Location : Brest, France

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