• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Is this the simple solution for Brits driving in France?
If an "S" sticker works for senior citizens, why not a "RB" sticker for Brits? Photo: France TV.

Is this the simple solution for Brits driving in France?

The Local · 28 Jan 2016, 16:19

Published: 28 Jan 2016 16:19 GMT+01:00

In a bid to improve driving etiquette, a motorists association in France is selling stickers to go on the back of cars with the letter “S” printed on them.

The “S” doesn’t stand for “scared” but for “senior” and it is hoped drivers will act a little bit more courteously when they realise the car in front is being driven by an elderly person.

In theory the "S" sign, just like the “A” sign for learner drivers, is meant to alert other drives that that the driver of the car in front might just react a little bit slower or more hesitantly than others.

They may not, for example, zoom off as soon as the light turns green and they may take their time overtaking on the autoroute to ensure they don't crash.

The Signal Senior association has sold over 1,200 stickers so far and hopes they will save not just shredded nerves and stress, but even lives.

Around 16 percent of drivers on French roads are over 65 and they are twice as likely to die when crashes occur than younger people, according to the organisation Prevention Routiere.

The association's president Gilles Renard summed up the benefits of the stickers.

"Those who are already using the sticker are happy because they are no longer honked at by other road users, they are left in peace and are much better respected."

Which has made us wonder why the association can’t bring out a series of stickers for British drivers.

 
How French motorists drive expats crazy

Granted the British license plate should get the message across to French drivers that the driver in the car in front might not react how they want, but it doesn’t seem to be enough given the amount of complaints aired on our articles about driving in France.

And then there are those who hire cars with French number plates in France or who have their own French car. They need stickers!

For a start the association could easily start producing a big sticker with RB on it. The RB stands for “Rosbif” or Roast Beef in English, which is how the French semi-affectionately refer to Brits.

The "RB" would immediately alert the French driver to the fact the driver in front is indeed on the wrong side of the road to normal and therefore slightly more nervous and probably going a little slower than they would like.

Ideally the “RB” would be placed on the front of the car too, so drivers get adequate warning that we might go the wrong way round a roundabout and not stop to give priority to those on the right, called “prioritaire a droit” in French.

Although the sticker would also alert them to the fact that we are likely to speed on open motorways and get caught by the police, but not bother paying the fines into French coffers.

Maybe some foreign drivers are not “Rosbifs” or perhaps don’t want to advertise the fact they are, so separate stickers are needed to give French drivers warning that they need to put the brakes on some aspects of their driving culture when we are around.

Story continues below…

A sticker with the words “Distance svp!” could possibly alert French drivers not to tailgate or drive up the backside of someone on the motorway, which tends to make British drivers very anxious indeed.

And similarly a sticker “Espace svp!” could let them know not to park tight against our bumpers, because we’d have no idea how to get out.

Maybe one with just a symbol of an ear with a cross through it would tell them not to bother beeping if they get frustrated with us.

Surely there's something in this.

Ben McPartland, an Englishman

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
It's official: France finally gets its new map
Photo: AFP

So, how well do you know the new map?

Sexism at the wheel: France wants more women drivers
Photo: State Farm/Flickr

Because the men are causing all the accidents.

VIDEOS: France's raunchiest TV commercials of all time
Photo: Gifi

Two sexually-charged adverts have got people hot under the collar in France, a little strange perhaps given the history of the French for making raunchy adverts. Take a look back through time at these famously steamy ads.

Why are foreign students in France 'Europe's unhappiest'?
Students at a university in Normandy. Photo: AFP

... for the fourth year in a row.

Education in France
The troubles with French universities laid bare
Students in Lyon. Photo: AFP

Classrooms overflowing, a serious lack of funding, and a flailing reputation abroad... what exactly is wrong with France's university system? The Local's Oliver Gee takes a closer look.

Studying in France
How to survive Paris on a student budget
Are you a student in Paris? Here's how to save some money. Photo: AFP

With students from all over the world descending on Paris for the start of a new term, we take a look at the best ways to save money while living in the French capital on a shoestring.

Where in France has the cleanest and dirtiest air?
Photo: AFP

No, Paris doesn't have the dirtiest.

Court could give 'depressed' French nation right to smile
Photo: Jens Bergander/Flickr

"Is it really responsible, in a depressed France, that the authorities forbid the French from smiling... (on their ID photos)"

Is Hollande's last budget target really credible?
Photo: AFP

The president says the budget is "serious" but many would disagree.

China turns to Brittany cows to feed its babies
Photo: AFP

Far east giant provides a boost for Brittany's beleaguered dairy farmers.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Education
The troubles with French universities laid bare
Culture
The crazy French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
2,728
jobs available