French Speed Limits
Unlike the UK, French speed limits are variable depending upon not just the type or road but also the weather and are also indicated in kilometres per hour or km/h and not miles per hour, mph.
The speed limit on French motorways or Autoroutes is 130km/h which is reduced in rainy weather to 110km/h and is reduced further to 50km/h when the weather is really bad and visibility is down to 50m.
Motorways without tolls and dual carriageways have slightly lower speed limits being 110km/h which again reduces in rainy weather to 100km/h and again to 50km/h when visibility is down to 50m.
On all other roads outside of built up areas you’ll find that the speed limit is set at 90km/h which reduces to 80km/h in wet weather and then again down to 50km/h when visibility is reduced.
For urban areas the speed limit is somewhat lower as you’d expect and is set at 50km/h irrespective of the weather unless signage says otherwise.
Along every major road you travel on you’ll see similar speed limit signs to those you would normally see in the UK. These are standard round white signs with a red border and the limit shown inside. You’ll also normally see a number of repeated signs along the way to remind you.
Don’t be surprised whilst driving along motorways and autoroutes in France if you see the speed limit change. This is quite common and especially as you approach toll paying stations. You’ll also notice that as you approach off slips in France that the speed limit will generally reduce quite quickly from the 110km/h or 130km/h down to 90km/h and then 70km/h. This is to ensure that you approach the end of the motorway safely so please ensure you follow them.
As you approach built up areas it’s also common, unlike the UK, not to see a speed limit sign. Please don’t fall foul of this, as in France the village or town sign often denotes the start of the built up area and therefore the reduction in the speed limit. Likewise when you see the sign with the line through the name this denotes the end of the built up area speed limit.
French Speed Limit Fines
If you do not adhere to the speed limits you could suffer more severe penalties than if you were in the UK.
French law enforcement officers take road traffic offences very seriously and on the spot fines are often given out. Fines in France for speeding are graded depending upon the speed you’re travelling at, above the limit.
On the spot fines start at €68 and rise quite considerably depending upon your excess speed. The average figure we hear banded about for speeding fines tends to be around €135 however the maximum for travelling 51km/h over the limit stands at around €1500.
The fines mentioned above are not the only implications of speeding as licences and vehicles can also be seized by police depending upon the severity of the offence. You have been warned!