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Driving in Normandy....anything I need to know about the norms?

For example no right turn on red, etc. Looking to see if any US habits I have will get me in trouble there.

Posted by
29683 posts

Do you know about the yellow diamond? And what it means? Do you know about national speed limits which are unposted?

Posted by
2322 posts

There can be a number.

  • If you have a pickup voucher, actually read and understand its provisions.
  • Never pass on the right. That includes on multiple lane roads such as the autoroutes.
  • On multiple lane roads, alway stay in the far most right lane. You can be ticketed for consistant use of the middle or far left lanes.
  • Know what the speed limits are and when they change - they are not always specifically posted.
  • July 1 the default speed on country roads changes from 90kph to 80kph.
  • Understand priorité à droite and how the yellow diamond sign applies to this rule.
  • Be keenly aware that there are thousands of speed cameras all over France. Some are marked, most are not.
  • Make sure you are adequately insured. American Express has an excellent insurance plan.
  • Refueling your vehicle at night or on weekends can be a problem as most pay-at-the-pump stations will not accept chip & signature credit cards.
  • You are required to have either an official French translation of your driver´s license or a International Driver´s permit issued by either AAA or the National Automobile Club. (assuming you are from the USA).
  • Be familiar with the Constat. It´s important if you are in an accident. There should be a blank constat in the glove box, the back side is in English.
  • There is a list of emergency equipment that you should carry when driving in France. It´s usually in a package in the trunk. Verify that it is there.
Posted by
81 posts

That international driving permit may be an issue. I'm leaving in less than a month.

Nevermind, I can get it at the office.

Posted by
496 posts

AaronW: You can get an IDP in less than 15 minutes at an AAA office, especially if you already have the passport photos required. No appointment is necessary.

Posted by
1165 posts

Start looking for a fuel stop when your gauge drops below half a tank.

Posted by
298 posts

If you are going to drive on autoroutes, be aware that there are fewer exits than on US interstates. If you miss the exit you want, it may be 20 miles before the next exit.

Posted by
81 posts


priorité à droite seems weird to my US driving experiences so I'll have to keep my head on my shoulders with that one.