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Driving in France

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
"Leverage your experience"

I've not heard that one before.... What's that in English? Toofy Grin
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Bergmeister, it's all about thinking outside the box and touching base with other snowHeads to brainstorm moving forward effectively to optimise cascading relevant information to drive through squaring the circle on French roads.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@snow name, great blue sky thinking there.
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snow name wrote:
@Bergmeister, it's all about thinking outside the box and touching base with other snowHeads to brainstorm moving forward effectively to optimise cascading relevant information to drive through squaring the circle on French roads.

In English please Sir Humphrey
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I love driving in France. I drive a long way through France each summer, and an equally long way back again. And it's great, incredibly easy and relaxing to cover long distances; which is lucky.

In the UK, I've usually had enough after about two hours, and we arrange our driving shifts accordingly. In France I'm fine for three or four as long as we can avoid the bouchons.
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Timc wrote:
Ah but the French have the roundabout to end all roundabouts.
Around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris with 12 roads feeding on to it and the old rules applying.
Combining Parisian drivers with "Priorité ŕ droite" is an adrenalin inducing experience like no other. Laughing


There should be a sign or something. First time I tried it I was in a motor home and the sound of horns and squealing tyres was deafening. To be fair it wasn't much different when I knew the rules. Laughing Laughing
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Tonight it's all about driving at high speed while honking your horn and blowing a vuvuzela (sp?) out the window. Did they win something? Twisted Evil
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Reminds me must apply for our sticker for the campervan.
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Done a fair amount of driving every summer (just back from 10 day driving holiday) and always find driving standards better than UK. It's when you get back you realise how they've dropped here.

In 10 years I think I've been caught out by two examples of "Priorité ŕ droite". One was a guy about 90 came out of a side road (happens here) and the other a combine harvester that came out of a field did a U-turn and went back (don't think he expected 6cars in the middle of nowhere so didn't even look).

We tend to be "making progress" but have only been stopped by police once and then only got a telling off followed by wanting to know about the car (it's a kit car so draws attention). Beyond that we get a few slow down hand signals but often just friendly wave. We're religious about limits in town, not too much over on motorways but elsewhere... Speed cameras always have a warning sign preceding them (IME). This summer we came across a few average cameras that I've not seen there before. With the new limits it's worth checking your sat navs are up to date.
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Quote:

Speed cameras always have a warning sign preceding them (IME). This summer we came across a few average cameras that I've not seen there before. With the new limits it's worth checking your sat navs are up to date.


I thought I had previously read on here that it is illegal in France to have something (like a satnav) that tells you where the speed traps are. And a big fine if caught. Can someone confirm if that is the position?
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@andy1234,
Quote:

I thought I had previously read on here that it is illegal in France to have something (like a satnav) that tells you where the speed traps are. And a big fine if caught. Can someone confirm if that is the position?
Yes it is, but to have the current speed limit on your satnav is perfectly legal. Just remember where you see 90 read 80
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Cameras warnings are illegal but sat navs will (legally) tell you current speed and current limit (and you can set it to beep when exceeded). Just watch for the radar signs to know there's s camera coming up within a K or so.
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Sat nav can tell you thete is a "safety feature'
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks that's useful guidance @johnE, @adithorp, and @holidayloverxx. Won't help me as the car I use in France hasn't got satnav Sad
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@andy1234, I always take my own sat nav
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@holidayloverxx, is it a phone?
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@holidayloverxx, well yes I have used my phone for navigation in extreme circumstances, like a couple of years ago at Christmas time, when it was so foggy on coming off the tunnel that I missed the correct road and almost ended up in Belgium when heading for Reims.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
maggi wrote:
@holidayloverxx, is it a phone?


No...a Tom Tom. A phone screen is too small
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I have a tomtom in my car, quite a recent one as the one David had years ago, which I inherited when I took over his car, gave up the ghost and I could never quite figure it out anyway so bought a new one last year and get on fine with it. In fact if I had to do a long trip in his Mitsubishi on my own I would take my own tomtom as the satnav built in to that car seems quite complicated. I tried to get the radio on the other day, could only get the maps showing, hit every knob there was and suddenly the front of the unit flew open and a CD landed on the passenger seat. So I prefer the separate Tomtom.
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@adithorp, I don't think our current built-in Sat Nav does that? Must check.
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Last Opel rental car I had had current speed limit reminder in both the SatNav and also on the built-in computer display thing on the dash.
So such safety features better be legal Wink
Just need the maps kept up to date, else you get reminders for speeding in a 50 zone with average speed cameras in roadworks that have long gone. Least the Opel one also makes use of TMC still, and not just intawebz connection.
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Going to be very quiet on French roads this Sunday Very Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
During the game but it won't be in any reasonable size town if they win. I was in StDie a couple of years ago when they played and won. It was mental after for about 2 hours. Cars flying about, kids hanging out of the windows or riding on roofs/bonnets, burnouts, doughnuts, etc. It all fizzeled out as the cars packed up one by one and the kids were left pushing them around. About 1/2 an hour after itd finished a cop showed up.
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@andy1234, I use coPilot app for navigating on a tablet when in a hire car.

@Pamski, Playing with the satnav in hire cars (if they have one) is part of the activities/entertainment of the front seat passenger. Activities include: changing the language, to English while in use then remember to change it to Albanian when you return it. Seeing where all the previous hirers went (rarely far or really interesting), adding spoof destinations to make it appear you have driven from Geneva to Varna, altering base units from km/hour to leagues per day and of course altering the speed settings to the lowest (or highest) possible. All just to give entertainment to the next passenger. They are toys - play with them
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My memory is that the satnav can tell you the zone in which the speed camera is operating but not where the speed camera is. It extends the time spent going more slowly but a few miles observing the speed limit out of thousands of miles travelled will make negligible difference.

I think a higher end TomTom is an excellent investment compared to the overall cost of a holiday, It has probably saved us hours each holiday in total compared to the car's inbuilt system.
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I find my iPhone's maps function is good for giving audible instructions on which way to go where I need them. I would never try to look at the screen though.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
johnE wrote:
I remember back in the day when the French rule on roundabouts was that trafic entering the roundabout had priority. It took a long time for the change to be universally adopted. I see the British are now adopting the French rules for signalling at roundabouts - ie do not do it.


In Greece last year, we encountered a roundabout, in a town, with 6 roads off of it. The 3 major ones had priority for entering traffic, the other 3 had to give way. Madness.
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In Albania recently, all the main junctions in Shkoder, crossroads, roundabouts, the lot, appeared to have no road markings or give way signs at all. It seemed to be a complete free for all, cars, trucks, motorbikes on the wrong side of the road, bicycles carrying bales of hay, donkey carts, goats, and even the odd cow - if they have traffic rules no-one follows them in the slightest. It was chaos, and how it was not utter carnage I'm not sure. Traffic difficulties in the rest of Europe paled into insignificance in comparison!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
[adithorp wrote]
Cameras warnings are illegal but sat navs will (legally) tell you current speed and current limit (and you can set it to beep when exceeded). Just watch for the radar signs to know there's s camera coming up within a K or so.
[/quote]
My Garmin satnav warns me of approaching "Dangerous road segment" when in France. I did see an article last year where the French government were proposing to start installing speed cameras without warning signs but have heard no more about it.

Presumably all good Snowhead drivers now have their Crit Air sticker for which we have had to give our car registration details enabling them to pursue us directly for any fines.
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@Timc, they can already do that without you applying for crit air
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Poster: A snowHead
My Tom Tom tells me of the camera ‘zones’ many of which are not obvious (such as the Moutiers tunnel). Tom Tom says this is perfectly legal in France and the database auto updates from an internal SIM card.

Last weekend I forgot to take the sat n’avait so used the car built in one (a Golf) and had Waze giving audio alerts over the car speakers. Waze is brilliant and will also warn you of Police cars hiding with speed cameras. Like the Tom Tom it will also re-route you around slow traffic and problems. Free and recommended.
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@Hells Bells, Yes, but by giving them the information directly we have made that little bit easier for them. I understand the reciprocal arrangements have been in place for just over a year, has anyone received a French speeding ticket direct yet or know of anyone who has?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Timc, I got flashed last summer after it came into place but did not get anything. More likely to get it from a hire car company, who like to charge the admin fee, but the fine did not arrive either. Like others, I really enjoy our long trips, I find it very relaxing and tend to do a lot of planning while hubby and the kids sleep/play on phones. Even breaking down, twice, has not put me off, just made me always book Eurotunnel breakdown, which is provided by the AA but is cheaper through Eurotunnel than as a long standing +20 years AA member...go figure. Other half uses Waze (I find it rather annoying) and prefer the built in sat nav with Google maps and a physical map as a back-up.
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@Timc, Not France, but when we got back from a season in Austria we had a German 10€ fine, and an Austrian one for 40€. JanetS and I had managed to get one each for exceeding the speed limits by a small margin in built up areas - where they don't have any speed limit signage.
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@RobinS, Do they ask you who was driving (i.e. do they have to establish identity of driver in order to be able to enforce the fine), or does the law allow them to fine the registered keeper?
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@tatmanstours, my wife picked up a speeding ticket from a camera on the entrance to a tunnel in Germany last year. It came with a grainy but very obvious photo of her in the driving seat, which is doubly impressive when the car was right-hand drive. The form which came with it asked the registered keeper (me) to identify the driver...

A French ticket for a Swiss hire car out of Basel was charged to my card by the hire company - their charge included paying the fine, plus an admin fee for processing it. I was the only registered driver for the car (and only occupant), so there was no doubt of who did it, but the form asked anyway.
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@ousekjarr, I can see that for a hire car, where the contract of hire restricts driving to the hirer, you are stymied, but in other cases there might be scope for being overcome by amnesia, or using one's imagination.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
German tickets are front facing, and as above, have a photo of the culprit (because they have to convict the person). G/L having amnesia and realising you have no idea who your own better half is Wink
Motorcyclists are therefore doubly immune to speed camera tickets (because they won't get the reg. plate from the front, and can't get a mugshot) Wink
€10 is a bargain. NL used to be the place where tickets were so cheap (50% discount if paid quickly too) it's easier to pay than contest, and with so many cameras it's just an occupational hazard of driving.
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@tatmanstours, The German one was a photo showing the driver - I could either reply saying who the driver was, or just pay thr fine and no further action. The Austrian one didn't have a photo, but again either name the driver, or just pay up and forget about it. For the level of the fines simplest action is just to pay up - transfer the money and you even need to reply to them.
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Thanks for all the tips and advice. Just boarded the ferry back to Blighty with no incidents but await the tickets when I finally get home! Used the cruise control a lot but the 20km drops in speed limits within a few metres of each other I’m sure will have caught me out somewhere!! Would agree about comments that the standard is good. I took a caravan on the pereferique around Paris and was pleasantly surprised, and was informed that one of my caravan roof windows was flapping open!! Took the rac European driving kit with me and other than the light reflectors, didn’t use anything else.
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