Thoughts on driving in France - googolplex
The roads are fast, smooth, jamless, totally roadworks-free and generally efficient at what they set out to do. Travel at 90-95mph and be overtaken by an equally efficient train on an adjacent track. Yes, there are tolls but the fuel is cheaper?a lot cheaper for a diesel driver. (Why is it that the rest of Europe pretty much unanimously agrees that diesel should be cheaper than petrol but we seem to think it dirty and worthy of additional taxes?) It seems to me that the traveller is being catered for on these roads ? you get the feeling that your taxes are being ploughed back into the transport infrastructure. Yes I?m writing about the French system and I?m no francophile. Why is it that we cannot replicate this over here? I?ve just driven down to the SW corner of France & back and spent much time asking myself this question?The contrast with the road from Dover up to London and beyond was only too obvious. Ghastly concrete sections, poor road surface, etc.

Its not all roses for the French though. I tried in vain to get a measure of their ?highway code? but have to conclude that theirs is an ?anything goes? culture. Add to this some outrageous instances of dangerous driving and its not surprising that the annual French road death carnage is double our own ? and I?m not complacent about our own record which must improve?.

Still, I had a great time ? drove down overnight and was surprised still to be in a steady flow of traffic at 3.30am?The Mondeo TDCI behaved impeccably too.
Recommended for all who, like me, love being behind the wheel.
Splodgeface
Thoughts on driving in France - Marcos{P}
I agree Splodgeface,
the French roads are nearly always a pleasure to drive on and you very rarely encounter a bad section. I have travelled through France on many occasion at speeds that would scare most people in this country half to death simply because on French roads I can do these speeds in relative safety.
I would never dream of going round the M25 at 120mph but on some French roads this is the norm.
Most of this is of course due to the fact that France is much less populated than here but their roads seem to be of much better quality.
The cost of diesel in France makes me laugh. Everyone here wonders why most of europe prefer diesels. Calculate the costs in France or Spain of owning a diesel compared to petrol and it all becomes very clear, plus of course you have the lovely cruising abilities of a diesel for their great long roads.

I too recommend driving through France and Spain for anyone who loves their driving.
Thoughts on driving in France - Lancia

>Most of this is of course due to the fact that France is much less populated than here but their roads seem to be of much better quality<

Hmmm ever checked out their death toll per year as a % per population (shocking). Driving around any of their big cities is a nightmare as it is over here. One of reason we like it so much is that the Autoroute are empty compared to our m/ways due to the fact that they have to pay, take congestion charging as an example !!!!
Thoughts on driving in France - smokie
No Lancia, what is the % compared to ours? Save me the research please..)

Mind you, I'm surprised Marcos is still alive if he drove at 120 mph - we all know that anything over 70 is life threatening... :-)
Thoughts on driving in France - mike hannon
Sorry Marcos, I live here, I travel a lot and I don't think there's anywhere in France where driving at 120mph is 'the norm'.
The recent French government-led campaign to cut road deaths appears to be working and driving standards are getting better. One of the suggestions in the campaign was to 'drive more like the British'. Not a good idea if they see the Brits over here driving like nutters, I would have thought.
There may be few, if any, speed cameras in France but I understand the law has just been changed to allow their introduction - and the gendarmes love lurking with their radar guns at the end of those long straights, so beware. The tradition in France is still to defy the law by flashing headlights to warn approaching drivers of police ahead - but at 120mph you've got no chance...
Thoughts on driving in France - Oz
I agree with the sentiments expressed so far (great roads, shame about some of the drivers).
A recent trip on the Autoroute down to Epernay reminded me how pleasant it is to be regularly offered the option of pulling into one of those tree-lined 'aires' to stretch one's legs, etc.
Oz (as was)
Thoughts on driving in France - jeds
Just returned from 2000 miles to Switzerland. French drivers do one thing much better than the Brits - they move over almost immediately after overtaking leaving the overtaking lane more or less free. The only cars I saw sitting in the overtaking lane were Brit cars. Paris was no problem,. Diesel was cheap but not as cheap is it used to be. The French people I spoke to said that prices had increased dramatically since the Euro.
Thoughts on driving in France - Marcos{P}
Sorry if I've offended people but I drive through France a few times a year and very often set cruise to 100mph and I am constantly bieng overtaken. The French drive faster than us and as said above their lane discipline is superb.
I don't want to get an argument started about speeding but in France the average speed on the toll roads is much greater than ours because the roads are less congested so speeding at 120mph seems like doing 90mph on the M25.
Thoughts on driving in France - googolplex
In response to Marcos, I agree that French Roads are easier and safer to go faster on given the quality of the surface and the exceptionally straight roads as well as the lack of congestion. I did go 100 for the first time in my driving life, because, at those times, it was possible and felt perfectly safe - far safer than 70 often does on the M25!

Regarding lane discipline, I cannot agree wholeheartedly that the French are more disciplined than us. Like this country some drivers did not shift over and they weren't British. In busy 3 lane conditions, cars tended to use the middle lane as the slow lane and leave the other for caravans and lorries. In busy 2 lane conditions, it was annoying that for 100s of metres in the run up to passing a slow vehicle, cars would tail up in the fast lane and then countless queue hoppers would shoot up the inside and push in at the last minute - as a consequence you could be ages sometimes trying to get past some lorries and I have to confess that eventually I joined the queue-hoppers through sheer frustration. However, for the most part, in non-busy conditions, lane discipline was good but no different from here.

Splodgeface
Thoughts on driving in France - neil
Absolutely agree. I've spent much time in France on a big bike and am constantly amazed at how fast even ordinary saloons are pushed along in France, without apparent detriment to car or driver. Especially as we know speed kills! (Or is that just English speed?)
Thoughts on driving in France - smokie
Hehe Neil, yes - 71 mph or more. It's different abroad as they use kph.
 

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