samedi 13 août 2011

An A to Z of Life in France

Back on the road again

It’s time to return to the subject of driving in France (See D is for Driving). It will make things easier for anyone intending to come and visit if I outline the five main rules of the road:

1. It is essential to drive as close as possible to the car in front.
2. If you must use your indicators, make sure you indicate in the opposite direction to the way you intend to turn.
3. On no account stop or slow down for pedestrians, whether or not they are on a pedestrian crossing.
4. Always maintain ‘priorité a droit’, even if you are emerging from a country track onto a dual carriageway and the signs say otherwise.
5. Ignore all signs.

Follow these rules and you will soon be driving like a native. If you’re lucky enough to reach your destination, you will probably need somewhere to park.
Some car parks and roadside parking spots demand you pay at a machine or display a disk issued by the town hall (it generally doesn’t matter which town hall, all the disks seem to be the same). All you need remember is that the only time you risk a fine is in the height of summer in a busy tourist area outside lunchtime.

At first sight, it might seem difficult to find a parking space in a place you don’t know, but here are some tips. Basically you can park anywhere, including:

1. On a pedestrian crossing.
2. In front of someone’s garage — just ignore the sign that the garage is in constant use, it obviously isn’t otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to park there in the first place.
3. In a space that is far too small for your car. OK, you may have to nudge the cars in front and behind you a few times, but everyone knows it’s a sign you belong to have some scrapes and dents on your car.
4. Too close to a neighbouring car; this is fine as long as both cars have sunroofs that can be used as exit routes. If, however, you have an elderly passenger who can’t be extricated this way, look for a parent and child parking space — nowhere does it specify ages.
5. Obstructing a busy thoroughfare, causing several Norbert Dentressangle
lorries to take a 50km detour.

When you return to you car — with any luck it will be in the same place you left it, give or take a shunt of a few metres — you are likely to find a plethora of advertising leaflets stuck under your windscreen wipers. These are usually printed on garish yellow paper (only official notices can be printed on white paper) and advertise anything from vide greniers [garage sales], to a bingo session where you can win a live goat or an invitation to a tea dance. On every leaflets is an exhortation not to drop it on the public highway. And no one does. Some rules are there to be obeyed.

2 commentaires:

  1. You forgot to mention not removing the papers under your wipers, they will fall off themselves eventually.

  2. You're right. You do see cars with a whole collection of leaflets just waiting to escape!