What to do if: You're caught speeding or you breakdown




You break down

  • Make sure you’re covered
    There’s never a convenient time for your car to break down, but the headache it can cause might be even greater when it happens abroad. Therefore, it’s worth making sure you’re fully covered before you travel, so in the event of the worst happening you can be confident that help is on its way. Investing in European breakdown travel cover is well worth doing, as those without it could find recovery costs to be very expensive.
  • Check conditions
    It’s also wise to check your car is in the best possible condition before you set off, to pick up on any potential problems before they arise. Consider getting your car serviced and check lights, tyres and visibility are up to scratch.
  • Have you got your insurance documents?
    It’s always a good idea to have all your insurance documents and appropriate phone numbers to hand too. Make sure you take these with you in the car every time, as they’ll be no good left back in your hotel or holiday home while you’re stranded at the road side.
  • What you need to pack
    Remember too that you’ll need to put on a florescent jacket should you break down and if your vehicle is stuck on the road (fully or partially) you’ll need to use the red warning triangle that it’s compulsory for all cars in France to carry.
  • The rescue plan
    It’s worth keeping in mind that if you breakdown on an autoroute your breakdown firm won’t be able to come directly to you. This isn’t quite as drastic as it sounds, as when this happens you need contact the emergency services on 112 to arrange to be towed off. Once you’re safely dropped off you can call for assistance to deal with the problem.




You Get Caught Speeding

If you're pulled over for speeding, be aware that on-the-spot fines can be issued and collected by the French police. The amount of Euros these will set you back can vary, but providing the offence isn’t worthy of loss of licence or prison, these can sometimes be reduced. It’s also worth knowing that radar detectors are illegal in France, so make sure they are left home!


Speeding offence fines:

  • The more serious the speeding offence, the heavier the fine, and if you exceed the limit by 31mph or more, your vehicle could even be permanently taken away from you.
  • So, to avoid potentially being left at the French roadside, it’s always wise to keep an eye on your speedometer.

According to the European Traffic Police Network, in 2013 there were around 500,000 recorded traffic light and speeding offences committed by UK motorists in France.

European Commission research found that 25% of speeding offences in France are committed by non-residents, and during busy holiday periods this jumps closer to 50%.

Take a look at the information below to see how the penalties issued relate to the amount the speed limit is exceeded by:

  • Speed limit exceeded by:
    Up to 12mph

    €45 Euros (approx. £35)
  • Speed limit exceeded by:

    €90 Euros (approx. £72)
  • Speed limit exceeded by:

    You could face a three-day driving ban in France and a €135 (approx. £108) court deposit - this ban can be extended at a court case, which would typically take place a few months later
  • Speed limit exceeded by:
    More than 31mph

    You run the risk of having your car permanently taken away from you, if it’s been decided you were driving dangerously - initially your car will be impounded and you’ll be hit with a €750 (approx. £600) court deposit, and once it reaches court the deposit can be held and the fine increased to €1,500, or €3,000 for a repeat offence.


France Driving - Pocket Guide


family with young child on tropical beach with palm trees

Swinton Travel Insurance

Explore our online exclusive single trip and annual multi-trip travel insurance policies and build a quote to suit you.

Explore your options

Insurance from Swinton and Safeguard

Driving abroad

Be sure to check out our other driving abroad guides:

Looking for something else?

Click to share