Can You Handle A Hyrbil (rental car) in Frankrike (France)

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France is a destination dream for many people around the globe. It boasts the city of creativity, romance, culture, and so much more. Needless to say, it is a country with no shortage of visitors, meaning it is generally exceptionally crowded in the shops, businesses, local attractions, and roadways.

In saying that, the suggestion for the traveler set on driving throughout the network of roadways is that the driver is seasoned with their skills. Maneuvering through the maze of traffic is no easy task in France as a whole. Still, in particular, Paris proves a particularly challenging and often complex situation for most drivers, even those who describe themselves as experienced.

One thing that needs mentioning upfront is that the motorways are privately managed, so if your vehicle becomes disabled or you have an emergency, you cannot call for your own service; there are orange-colored emergency phones situated along the primary roadways to reach the police and an “official” service that operates for disabled cars. With no phone available, motorists are expected to dial 112 for assistance.

Of course, in a rental car, that’s the very last thing you hope to have happen. When traveling in such congested conditions, the idea is to wait until traffic is at its slowest point of the day before you travel or use the car outside of city limits and public transport or walk within the city limits to the areas you wish to explore, particularly Paris.

A Driving Holiday Through The Lovely Country Of France

It’s no secret that many people (my hand’s up) desire to visit France and, most specifically, Paris at some point in their lifetime. It is a dream to experience what presents as a captivating allure not just in the sense of romance but the culture, the creative nudge it provides those who are creatively inclined, the sheer ambiance. 

There is no place that a person would need to either walk, cycle, or drive so that you can stop on a whim to walk into a shop or step into a bakery or an art gallery for the inspiration that it brings. 

Lest we forget ourselves; many requirements come with driving and the unspoken expectation for a level of experience to handle the complexity of the motorways, the road system, and traffic congestion. 

When renting a car, the last thing you want is to become entangled in an accident because you couldn’t figure out the system. That can cost you significantly not only in rental fees but for the liability of the person or persons with whom you collide. 

With all the roundabouts and different patterns that most of us are not used to, that’s a very real possibility. When hiring a car, it’s important to check out the full insurance when looking at car rental with a trusted provider like; if you don’t have comprehensive coverage through your auto carrier or a premium rental coverage through a credit card. 

A dent, ding, scratch, or more should be anticipated. Let’s check out some of the regulations for driving while in France.

  • Most current road regulations
  1. Drinking / driving: The alcohol limit for drivers and their passengers with less than three years of experience per gram liter is 0.2. Anyone with over three years carries 0.5, each less than other countries surrounding France like Northern Irish, English, Welsh, all coming in at 0.8 grams per liter.
  2. Headsets: When operating a vehicle, motorists are prohibited from wearing any type of headphones or headsets whether to answer a call or listen to music. Motorcycles with helmets that have integrated systems are excluded from the rule.
  3. Reflective wear: Reflective jackets are necessary and should be worn in an emergency situation or a breakdown.
  4. Low emission: Paris implements a “Low Emission Zone” in which cars of either fuel or diesel capacity registered prior to 1997 are banned weekdays between 8 am and 8 pm. Beginning in 2020, only vehicles that were made from 2011 on were allowed. Lorries and buses of either diesel or fuel in Paris are also banned.
  5. Crit’Air Sticker: The clean-air sticker must be displayed on all vehicles when driving within specific cities. The cost for the sticker is minimal, but the fine for not having it is extensive.
  6. Speeds: Many of the A and Broadway speeds in France have been decreased to (50 mph) or 80km/h in an effort to save lives each year.
  • Driving license laws in France

Visitors coming to France who wish to drive need to be 18 years of age-plus and hold a valid, full driver’s license for legal driving in France. Motorcycle or moped drivers of bikes up to 125cc need to be 16 years of age-plus. 

Licenses that are issued in EEA or EU countries are acceptable. International driving permits are not required but do receive recognition.

  • Overtaking / Passing

As a rule, drivers will remain on the right but can overtake slower vehicles on the left side. If there are cars in the lanes, it is okay for cars to overtake slower cars on the right in the slower-moving lanes.

On steep grades, cars maneuvering downhill need to give way to those working their way uphill. Passing by trams in operation is permitted on the right but one-way streets; you can do so on the left if you don’t have enough clearance on the right.

  • Priority 

When coming to an intersection, the vehicle approaching from the right has priority unless there is another indication. Those motorists approaching a roundabout need to give precedence to the drivers who are already progressing through the roundabout.

Any emergency vehicle with lights and sirens engaged takes priority over everyone else.

  • Approach warning

Horns on a car are only to be used in the case of giving a warning to other motorists. Between the time of sunset and sunrise, drivers are expected to use flashing lights in their effort to warn other drivers instead of the horn. 

Horns are only for absolute necessity. In areas that are developed to capacity, horn use is prohibited except in the instance of imminent danger. Multi-tone horns, whistles, and sirens are forbidden.

  • Seat belts

All drivers and passengers are expected to wear seat belts if these are fitted to the vehicle. The driver needs to make sure that each person is reasonably restrained under the age of 18. The fines are hefty for failure to engage a seat belt.

  • Traffic signals

The traffic light system used internationally is also implemented in France, but there is no amber color after the red. A flashing amber color is an indication of caution, slowing down or proceeding yet allowing drivers from the right to have the right of way.

A flashing red light is an indication that there should be no entry. When an amber arrow follows the red light, a driver can proceed in that direction as long as the right of way is given to cars traveling in that direction and pedestrians.

  • French speeds

The metric system is implemented for all French road signs, including the speeds and distances which use kilometers and meters. The speed is decreased in the rain and other adverse weather conditions with specific restrictions applying to the varied classes, meaning you’ll need to check before visiting.

The minimum speed for cars driving in the outside lane on the motorway is 80 km/h. A driver with an EU driving license traveling more than 40 km/h of the posted speed limit will see the police confiscate their license on the spot.

  • Drinking / Driving

The blood-alcohol level maximum for drivers of private automobiles in France is 0.5%, lower than those in England and other countries where it is 0.8%, but it’s comparable in Scotland. For less experienced drivers with fewer than three years of driving or newly qualified bus or coach drivers, the limit is 0.2%.

Law enforcement has the capacity to carry out breathalyzer testing at random. Drivers responsible for an accident or committing a severe motor violation must take the test. 

The police incorporate urine or saliva in the testing to determine whether the driver is under the influence. If this test is positive, a blood test will follow.

  • Fuel and diesel 

Filling up a vehicle is not challenging in France. The products are readily available, but the issue is the expense. Petrol is expensive, with many people opting for electric vehicles in the country. 

If you’re renting a car, you might want to check out a hybrid to avoid the excess expense. You’ll find numerous electric charging points since this is a growing industry in the country.

Final Thought

France is a dream destination for many people around the world. Call me biased because I am one of the dreamers who find the location the ideal holiday for the creative outlet. 

Traveling by way of a car is the only way to stop when you want to run into the random museum, art studio, bookstore, or signing independently, obviously where my heart is. A road trip is the only way to fully experience and appreciate the country as it’s meant to be.

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