How French motorists drive you crazy

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Oliver Gee - [email protected]
How French motorists drive you crazy

The Local's readers share their ideas for how France should crack down on its rogue motorists (not to mention those rogue British drivers...).


When we asked for French drivers' worst habits on our Twitter and Facebook channels, one reader even said there weren't enough Twitter characters to list them all. 

Here's a selection of the measures they would like to see France implement in order to improve road safety.
Punish tailgating (or driving up your backside in the UK)
This was by far the most repeated response we got. Mike Walker on Twitter said that France's tailgaters "infuriate" him. He says that "you can sometimes see a line of cars that almost appear to be conjoined".

Photo: Olivier Jeannin/Flickr

Tell them to stick to their side of the road 
Facebook fan Rhys Bowen takes issue with drivers not sticking to their lanes. "The Gendarmes like to enforce speed limits but speeding is not the real problem. It's not keeping to their own side of the road," he said, before adding that they're not much good at giving way to pedestrians either. 

Photo: Piano Piano!/Flickr

Make scooter riders behave
Theresa Hall on Facebook says that both motorcyclists and scooter riders seem to "drive anywhere they want". And it appears to be true, especially in Paris, if our reader response is anything to go by. "Driving in Paris is not for the timid," Theresa concludes.

Sometimes some drivers seem to forget that parking spaces do exist. Photo: Loïc/Flickr

Learn pedestrian crossing etiquette
This was a gripe for numerous readers.
It's not that hard, motorists. If the light is red, then stop. No sneaking through at the last minute either, please and maybe they can stop once in a while at a pedestrian crossing. Or at least slow down.
Pedestrians in France have to be ultra careful on the streets just to get from A to B. The flip side is that if the pedestrians aren't assertive, they might miss their chance, leaving some to jump the gun and cross the road when the light's red for them too. Yes, the pedestrian crossings are a minefield in the bigger cities in France. You've been warned. 

The Concorde Square. Photo: WiLPrZ/Flickr

Park in parking places
This was another common response. Shanon Lamonds Michelle summed up the problem: "They park where they please."
The government announced this week that rules would be tweaked slightly with parking, saying that it will now be illegal for cars to park within five metres of a pedestrian crossing. 

This car's driver has apparently lost his sense of direction. Photo: Georg Sander/Flickr

Cut the beeping
The Local's own editor and frequent pedestrian Ben McPartland chimed in on this one. "The reaction times of some Parisian motorists are unbelievable. Within a split second of the traffic light going green, they are on their horns, honking the car at the front."
Stop putting pedestrians in danger
Reader Geoff Dupuy-Holder has this to say about French drivers in "his satirical take on the alternative rules of La Route": "If you pass a pedestrian, dog-walker, jogger, wheelchair user, old person or a young mother pushing a pram, do not slow down. Drive as close and as fast as possible, preferably while glaring out of the window at the thoughtless person who has dared to invade the sacred space of your road."
Outlaw risky overtaking
Twitter user Tilou says that the overtaking manoevres of French motorist "leave much to be desired". Jehanne Collard, a lawyer for victims of road accidents in France and an author of a book of the subject backs up Tilou's complaint.
"There is a real deterioration in terms of the behavior on the road. Fatal accidents often involving cyclists, pedestrians and scooter drivers are related to excessive speeds and risk-taking, such as overtaking blind," she told Le Figaro.

Photo: Andrew Gustar/Flickr

UK rogue drivers!
It wasn't only the French drivers who were under attack. Writing on Facebook Nigel Hay said that the French government should crack down on all the UK registered cars "running about France" without the necessary MOTs or valid insurance. "There are Brit cars here that have been untaxed and still registered in the UK for 15 years now - so where do all the unpaid fines go to?" he asked.

Photo: Mikey/Flickr
Another version of this story was published in 2015



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