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MAP: Where are the worst drivers in France?

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MAP: Where are the worst drivers in France?
Drivers in France have a poor reputation. (Photo by REMY GABALDA / AFP)

A new survey will do nothing to change the international impression of French motorists - but which parts of France have the worse drivers?


It is a truth universally accepted that French drivers are among the worst in Europe - and the results of a survey looking into driving behaviour across the country will do nothing to improve their reputation.

Vinci Autoroutes Foundation's latest barometer of driver behaviour in France paints a pretty bleak picture of motorists in France using their mobile phones at wheel, inappropriate use of their car’s horn, getting into slanging matches with other road users, or driving inconsiderately. 

As part of a wider European survey, the foundation asked 2,400 French drivers, from 12 of the 13 regions of France - Corsica was excluded - about their driving habits.


Motorists in France admitted to committing, on average, 2.1 out of a total of five motoring “uncivil behaviours” - and were the most likely to insult other road users. 

The European “uncivil driving behaviour” average was 1.9, while Greek motorists admitted to 2.3 of the five problematic motoring habits.

Bad - and dangerous - driving habits are particularly prevalent among young people, according to the study, with a total 20 percent of drivers under 35 admitted to driving while under the influence of alcohol, and 19 percent said they were in control of a car after taking drugs.

Meanwhile, 78 percent of that age group admitted to using their phone while driving - 54 percent said that they send or read text messages or emails, while 23 percent watch movies or videos. 

The survey found that illegal and distracting phone use at the wheel was “widespread through the whole population”, but the overall average was lower. Across all road users surveyed, 62 percent said they checked their phone at the wheel - 42 percent of them admitted to being ‘regular’ users.

Worst areas

Delving into regional differences driving attitudes in France makes for interesting reading. Motorists in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Normandy are most likely to check their phones (65 percent admitted they did, compared to 57 percent in Brittany). 

And, while 83 percent of those surveyed said that they sometimes take their eyes off the road for a few moments, this figure rises to 89 percent in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and falls to 75 percent in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

The least civil drivers are found in the greater Paris Île-de-France region, the area with the most traffic bottlenecks, which may in part account for their rudeness. They were followed by drivers in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, another high-traffic area of the country.

Style of motoring incivility varies. Drivers in Normandy, Hauts-de-France and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes are more likely to hurl an insult or two, while those in Île-de-France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur are more likely to lean on their car horns.


And beware those in Paca region, Grand Est, Occitanie, and Normandy - who are most inclined to follow other road users who annoy them.


Even allowing for regional variations, the one constant in the study is that the French drivers are, at best, inconsiderate, and, at worst, downright awful when they are behind the wheel. 


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