This famous feature of French driving protocol is still causing confusion today even though it isn’t as common as it was. Basically when you are driving in France, look out for a sign with a black cross in a white triangle with a red outline – traffic from the right entering into your road doesn’t have to stop, you do…..even if you are travelling at speed. You’ll also find that some right entry roads have very poor visibility so practice caution. We find that some smaller roads don’t have “give way” lines across them – often this is taken by local French road users as giving priority from the right so beware of this, particularly in rural areas.
There are at two main areas where you need to be careful:
Rural areas and small villages. You will often find that on minor roads priorité à droite is still assumed even if there is no French road sign. You need to look out for roads without a give way sign, slow down and don’t wait for anyone to thank you. Assume that cars will simply come from the right without stopping on these roads – 99 times out of a hundred this is certainly what happens – cars do not slow down and check when they are coming from a road which has priorité à droite (priority from the right). The onus is on the car on the left to slow down and check and stop if a car is coming from the right. Inthe event of an accident the car from the left will almost certainly be blamed.
Paris. In central Paris you will find that the rule is very much still practiced on roundabouts (carousels). You can be halfway round a roundabout and suddenly get cutup by a car joining the roundabout. Keep your wits about you and pay close attention- take Paris roundabouts slowly and cautiously – better to have an angry French motorist bibbing his hooter (honking their horn) and shouting than having him and his car inserted into the side of your vehicle!
For more rules on driving in France see:
Rules of the Road– Driving inFrance