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Subject Topic: Driving Abroad
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Message posted by Frogman14 on 17/7/2007 at 11:43am
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TT 's advice for first timers is tops, but now the school hols are here,  for anyone not familiar with France ,just a few hopefully practical tips to avoid the horror stories often heard on camp sites.

Priority from the right  TT is right in saying this is less of an issue,(a bit like yellow headlamps for the real oldies), but it still exists in towns and can be a trap for the unwary. I know of some junctions which are lethal if you don't know about them. Simple rule is look out for the yellow diamond sign, and if there is a black line through be careful thereafter. Personnally any iffy junction I don't know ,I give way, and if you have priority, the other guy will wave you on,  You get "brownie points" for being savvy.---------In Holland you have a similar system which they call the "flying bomb" sign, This is a thick arrow with a line across.

Stitching Standard practice in France, it is the only way to make progress in Paris etc. so the "you're not coming in here pal" approach does n't work ,they will cut in anyway. It 's not rude, it is the way they do it. Remember you 're on holiday and chill out.

Motorbikes Bikes in traffic overtake (often at speed) in between lanes, so don't get too close to the car next to you, you may lose a wing mirror, and if you are changing lane HAVE A GOOD LOOK OUT FOR BIKES. Consideration is often thanked by a foot stuck out after they have passed, and it is fun to award points for the "coolness" of the foot style.

Safe areas to stop It is generally held , even in France, that anywhere near Lyon is not a good place to picnic, similarly Dreux in 27 region. No doubt there will be others come to light.

Trucks Trucks on m-ways cover massive distances, look at the int plates on the back, and the drivers don't always obey the rules, so if you see one wandering a bit the driver is probably asleep, so give him a wide berth.

Mercs and BMW's On French m ways, particularly if they have German or Swiss plates, they can be going at a high rate of knots, We know they shouldn't but they do, so be prepared for some headlights to suddenly appear in your mirror when you are overtaking, particularly at 100 kph with a caravan in tow.------------On the German autobahns, think 3 times before doing anything !

Paris Simple rule to driving in Paris, DON'T STOP, DON'T PAUSE, AND MAKE SURE YOU DON'T BUMP INTO WHAT'S IN FRONT OF YOU. the other guys are doing the same

Lyon Go in on the train !

International plates You know all about GB. Netherlands NL these guys can cross three lanes of an m-way to exit within 50 yds of the junction. Belgium B they have red numberplates , they can do anything. Italy I they will stop and read a map or park in the middle of the road, go to Milan or Rome.-----No doubt there will be more.

Not all the above is totally serious, but some may strike a chord whilst you are away, hope you have a good holiday


Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by Matthew H on 17/7/2007 at 11:48am
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This is great. Thanks. I will definetly use this post for my first time abroad driving.

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Message posted by HarryB on 17/7/2007 at 10:35pm
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Quote: Originally posted by Frogman14 on 17/7/2007

.

Priority from the right  TT is right in saying this is less of an issue,(a bit like yellow headlamps for the real oldies), but it still exists in towns and can be a trap for the unwary. I know of some junctions which are lethal if you don't know about them. Simple rule is look out for the yellow diamond sign, and if there is a black line through be careful thereafter. Personnally any iffy junction I don't know ,I give way, and if you have priority, the other guy will wave you on,  You get "brownie points" for being savvy.---------In Holland you have a similar system which they call the "flying bomb" sign, This is a thick arrow with a line across.


This advice is technically not true. It does not mean if crossed out it gives priority from the right or else you would have to give way to every side road. Whilst the yellow triangle gives priority on a main road you will see it crossed out with a black diagonal on the approach to roundabouts for example. Quite simply the rules are the same as here, ie give way to traffic on the roundabout. Hence the reason  'No Priority' sign is shown.

The sign you really need to watch out for  is a black cross on a white triangular background. It looks like a multiplication sign. This really is a danger sign as it means traffic from a side road to the right has priority even if you are on the main road (scary). After seeing this sign watch for 'T' junctions from your right and you will notice there is no give way/stop line. You'd better slow down quick. Fortunately you don't see many of these now but they are still about. I saw several this year in Brittany.

I have uploaded the two images in question on my profile. Have a look.

harryb



Post last edited on 17/07/2007 22:42:05

Post last edited on 17/07/2007 22:43:33

Message posted by Frogman14 on 18/7/2007 at 10:08am
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Harry----I can see where you are coming from, and maybe you are a seasoned traveller, but to say technically not true is a bit misleading for the 1 st timers.

a)   The black line throught the diamond, does mean that you do not have automatic priority, however many side roads themselves have  "give way" sign, "stop" sign or the white painted bar on the junction, just the same as UK, so you are not "giving way to every side road"

b) Of course roundabouts give way to traffric on the roundabout, and "cedez passage" means just that. Mind you if you ever drive round the Arc de Triomphe , in Paris don't even think you have priority on the roundabout. When the lights change, the on coming traffic enters like a Le Mans start and it is traffic on the roundabout which gives way, 

d)My comments were directed at driving in urban areas where the crossed diamond will be seen at the entrance to a town, and I assure you that there  are some wierd junctions, some not far from a channel port

I have driven commercially in France for 30 yrs and in that time I have seen GB plates in every conceiveable situation. My idea was to give the newcomers a bit of help, and at the end of the day, if you are not used to France or Europe, drive carefully and don't ruin your holiday.


Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by Frogman14 on 18/7/2007 at 10:59am
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PS Harry -----------Just had a look at your pictures. The black cross sign you show is for LOCALS to tell them that the priority on a junction has changed. For those who know the junction there is obviously a danger if it changes.

Message posted by HarryB on 18/7/2007 at 4:45pm
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I take tour point about my initial wording. I have just tried to edit it to make it less confusing but it wont let me because it was posted more than 12 hours ago. So perhaps it should say "This advice is a little confusing"

The black cross sign in question was on a main road through a village so why would it need to tell locals of a priority change if they know they are on the main road. Its all a little confusing. The reason I posted the picture was to alert anyone interested to that particular sign and to be aware. Why, because 4 years ago I fell foul of it in a small village in the French Alps. A car came straight out infront of me from the right. I had to slam on to avoid an accident and his gestures left me in no doubt I'd done something wrong. This is why I found about about the said sign.

 As the post in question will remain permanently at the head of the page do you think these pictures can be saved onto the site permanently as I may wish to change my gallery at some time.

harryb


Message posted by Frogman14 on 18/7/2007 at 5:33pm
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Harry-------Sorry to labour the point, but the black cross sign on your gallery does refer to "A change of use " of a paticular junction. This has the potential for regulars to not be aware or forget, so it is a warning to regulars, but also to everyone, that they need to be aware of potential "bad driving" ahead much as you appear to have experienced. You get the same thing in UK when a junction is changed. I can assure you that the ONLY sign used in conjunction with priorities in general is the yellow diamond which you usually see at the exit from a town or village, and the same sign with a black line at the entrance to a town or village.

If you look at my latest posting "Everything you need to know"  If you page down far enough, coincidentally you will see the signs referred to , and their useage.

But debate is useful if it means that someone is a bit more aware n'est-ce pas?


Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by HarryB on 18/7/2007 at 8:25pm
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Still debating on this  Getting away from the yellow triangle priority sign. I am not disputing that sign.

If you take the wording out of the sign on my picture you are left the the black cross. Which then means give way to traffic from the right. Which is what I said in my first post.

Quote: "This really is a danger sign as it means traffic from a side road to the right has priority even if you are on the main road (scary)."

Which is the same as the meaning of 'Give way to traffic from the right'. My thoughts were really to inform others to be very aware of the dangers when confronted with this sign. In other words be careful and expect the unexpected.

harryb

harryb


Message posted by HermanTheGerman on 20/7/2007 at 10:21am
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Quote: Originally posted by Frogman14 on 17/7/2007

Mercs and BMW's

------------On the German autobahns, think 3 times before doing anything !


So true!

 

Markus, "flying" the Merc.....



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Message posted by Frogman14 on 21/7/2007 at 12:06pm
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Up - date re above, try this web site, it seems to have evrything www.day-tripper.net/drive-infrance.html

Message posted by Zozzer on 29/7/2007 at 4:21pm
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Quote: Originally posted by HermanTheGerman on 20/7/2007
Quote: Originally posted by Frogman14 on 17/7/2007

Mercs and BMW's

------------On the German autobahns, think 3 times before doing anything !


So true!

 

Markus, "flying" the Merc.....


Having just returned from our first tour of Europe,  I can relate to this.

No NEVER forget the first time you see a BMW, Mer or Porsche passing you at full belt on the Autobahn's.  It's make it easily understood why lane discipline is excellent and everyone pulls back into the slow lane after overtaking.  It also makes you understand why Trucks and other vehicle pulling trailers are barred from overtaking at certain places on the autobahn's.

I made the mistake of pulling out to overtake a truck, having looked in the mirror and seen a spec on the horizon.  I only did that ONCE, only ever pulled out with nothing behind, even in the distance.

One lesson quickly learned in towns in Germany is that traffic may turn right at traffic lights ( flashing amber ) but have to give way to the other traffic which have a green.  A bit unnerving when someone pulls out on you when your going through the lights on green.

Finally,  I was nervous about driving on the right for the first time, but after the first couple of miles it one no problem, and really enjoyable.  I can't wait to get back over their.

 

 



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Message posted by The 2 Tops on 12/8/2007 at 7:09pm
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I have toured France with a motorhome, but that was 8 years ago.  Next year we are taking a caravan for the first time.  I have seen various contradictory pieces of information regarding both driving and what you must carry on board.

The following would be useful, if obtainable:

(1) An English version of the French highway code.

(2) A leaflet which states exactly what must be carried; e.g.  Fire extinguisher, first aid kit, etc.

Also, I have read somewhere that, even if the British number plate carries the Euro symbol (circle of stars with GB in centre) you must still have a GB sticker on car and van.  Is this true?

Bertie.



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Message posted by topdogandco on 09/9/2007 at 5:01pm
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Would also add that many older drivers in France still think that the 'priority from the right' exists everywhere. When we lived there we treated every single side road with caution.

Our Carrefour supermarket in St Brieuc had a roundabout at its entrance where the priority from the right rule existed ie traffic on the roundabout gave way to that entering. This even confused the locals. Saw  few near misses on that one! In fact any roundabout in france should be treated with extreme caution in France. They don't know how to use them!!!!!! ( not a racist comment- most people were never taught to use them)

 


Message posted by alan29 on 01/10/2007 at 2:09pm
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What are the towing speed limits in Europe outside France? I have been hunting for a handy web site but can't find one

Alan


Message posted by Val A on 18/10/2007 at 8:17am
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Try this one, Alan http://www.europe.org/speedlimits.html

Message posted by alan29 on 18/10/2007 at 10:59am
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Thanks for that. It was towng speeds I was really after.

Alan


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