As from 31st October 2004, the French government recommend that you drive with your headlights on during the daytime, regardless of the weather conditions, outside built up areas. This is part of a drive to reduce serious accidents.
AVOIDING THE TRAFFIC JAMS! The Bison futé scheme.
Each year in June the French ministry of Transport issues a map showing areas of congestion. It is called the Carte de Bison futé (crafty bison map) - presumably the reference is to great heards of shaggy beasts from the north making seasonal mass migrations, none of them being bright enough to workout alternative routes for themselves. The map gives alternative routes indicated by yellow or green signs. Copies are available free from petrol stations and tourist information centres. Holiday routes are indicated by green arrows allowing you to miss large towns and cities There are some 90 information rest areas in France indicated by a black "i" and an Information Bison Futé sign. TV and radio announce how bad traffic jams are by a system of colour codes: orange (bad), red (very bad), and dreadful (black). There is further advice, in French, on safety and on potential traffic black spots during the holiday seasons on the French Government-run website: http://www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.fr.
SPEEDING FINES - new rules
The fine for speeding is €135, but if you are caught doing less than 20kph over the speed limit then it may be reduced to €68, or €90 to €45 if you pay within a fortnight. You licence will have a point taken off for the offcence. For an excess of 20-50kph the former fine and points structure remain, but for speeding over 50kph the fine jumps to €1,500 and the number of points taken off goes from 4 to 6 and the court has discretionary power to take your licence away for up to 3 years!
By the end of 2005 there will be around 1,000 speed traps - there are already three in La Manche. These cameras will catch foreign cars as well!