Speed limits - all change again

Well lots of changes in some departments and little or none in others. On our road trip in September I did feel a lot of roads had over-restrictive speed limits. Many locals obviously did too, judging by their frustration with me staying within limits.

Well, at least they’re heading in the right direction. :wink:

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When we did our trip in October the speed limits felt quite pedestrian compared with driving in many parts of the UK (though not all). It was also obvious that locals knew where speed cameras were hidden, and would drive for the road rather than the limit except when passing cameras.

There were signs up when entering the Cantal that they had a 90kph speed limit, although seeing google maps showing an 80 limit caused some internal conflict. Having read a bit on SF about changing speed limits, I’m not surprised at google not being up to date.

I got so many speeding tickets in the year that the 80 kph law came in. To me the the UK’s 60mph was reasonable and S Africa’s 120 kph on many single carriageway roads was great driver fun, but maybe in the greater overall scheme of things (potholes, and big tortoises, stray cows and drunken cattle herders crossing the road) maybe not such a good idea.

Meanwhile, it’s mportant for visitors and locals to remember that France’s 90 kmph limit is only on departmental routes in the Cantal (and some other depts) and that it’s still 80 kph on often superior quality national routes that pass through these depts.

And to make things even more confusing, the speed limit signs (Cantal excepted perhaps) are frequently wholly inadequate. so often over the past year, since the loosening of the legislation, I’ve been driving in an unfamiliar part of France (but also in the neighbouring Lot) and not known what my maximum speed should be. Certainly it’s nothing to do with the quality (or otherwise) of the road. So does one have to rely wholly on satnav advice if driving somewhere new?

And don’t get me started on the new speed camera warning signs on the D840 in the Aveyron and Lot where they’re spread along about 50 kms of road, but there’s only four cameras - NW, N and NE of Figeac and the other SE of Firmi. Everyone knows about them and takes the appropriate precautions - before flooring it!

However some SL people might not know about this official link that’s updated every month.

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No change in 47, not that my minor local roads allow 80kph unless you’re a Finnish rally driver in a Group B rally car.

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This is useful but I’m puzzled because positions of speed cameras are forbidden on sat-nav devices.

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Now THAT is a challenge! :laughing:

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I know, there’s so much inconsistency in France over every aspect of speed limits, but I think, the prohibition that you refer to (and the extreme penalties - confiscation of vehicle) that can ensue, refer to illegal devices for detecting and warning about mobile cameras. But I could be wrong.

Speed cameras are safety devices. The French State raising 1.4billion Euros p.a. from them, is nothing to do with any restrictions on information about them. So your satnav will mention from time to time you have just entered a safety zone, I think they’re about 2km wide, where sometimes safety devices may have been known to be deployed.

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When speed limits were reduced, I had no problem driving at 80kms/hr - didn’t bother me. I’m in no hurry, my house isn’t on fire and my plane or train was never about to leave town without me.

When I drive the 15 minutes into town, I see those cars that have swept past me impatiently waiting just ahead of me at the roundabout leading into the town centre.

I’ve driven this route so often that I know that 90kms/hr doesn’t get me into town any faster than at 80kms/hr. A couple of minutes difference?

I drive consistently at the same speed whether the road is straight of bendy, but so many drivers behind me or ahead of me, seem to slow down at bends as if the bend is going to make their cars topple over sideways.

More haste less speed I say, which is another matter I suppose.

Don’t much care what the official speed limits are – 80kms/hr is good enough for me!


Can you lend me a Finn and a rally car?

My Duster and I aren’t really suited to 4 wheel power slides through the corners.


My Garmin comes up with the message “dangerous road ahead” and then the approx KM distance so I know if there is a camera squatting on a pole.

I’m sure you can try a little harder. :wink: :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I think people need to realise that not maintaining a speed reasonably close to the limit may generate much frustration for those travelling long distances or with a busy schedule. Travelling at 80km/h for many will mean an actual 75km/h or less. This may result in dangerous overtaking manoevres on roads with few overtaking opportunities. On our road trip I was amused to see speed limits that were plainly too high for the road as well as limits unreasonably low. I wonder if they are randomly allocated? :grinning:

That applies at any official speed limit in my experience in France.

When my regular speed was 90kms/hr there was an abundance of those who wanted to overtake, sometimes for the hell of overtaking. Once past they slow back down to 90kms/hr. Still happened when 80kms/hr was the limit!

Many years ago, I read a survey done of French drivers by a French psychologist – forget when/where - but two conclusions resulted.

The average French driver has his/her own personal highway code, nothing like the official highway code, and that they don’t like ‘following’, they have to be in front.

That was certainly my experience when I visited.

On the question of speed itself, when the speed limit was 90kms/hr, I noticed, hadn’t noticed at all for such a long time, that my car’s speed varied by 3kms/hr depending on whether you looked at the speedometer or the gps. Renault Clio versus TomTom.

The gps always shows 3kms/hr less than the Clio’s speedometer. I upped the cruise control, assuming the gps to be more reliable.

I heard on the radio yonks ago (the AA had confirmed this) that the EU allowed there to be a minus % safety discrepancy on European speedometers.

What speed am I doing I wonder!

My old Mk2 Octavia had a more optimistic speedometer than the Mk3 we bought before our trip to France. I only realised the difference when I started to use a satnav app with speed indication after a lot of driving in France oops.

Just remembered, it wasn’t the ‘average’ French driver, it was a majority of French drivers.

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It’s always interesting to see how folk describe their driving re speed limits…

Had quite a scary journey to Perigueux last week. OH always drives “at” the speed limit or just a fraction above… and a very large lorry come zooming up behind us… nearly landed in the boot … and then it just stuck there… it’s presence filling the rear view mirror. There was nowhere for it to go, other than over the top of us.

OH was furious, while I was scared out of my wits.

As the 70kh sign loomed up, OH touched his brakes very gently… and that did make the lorry back-off just a little… but only a little.

As soon as we came to the 80kh… the lorry tooted us… it could not overtake and was not happy lest we linger too long at 70kh.

Huh… OH put his foot down and we shot forward… then rolled along gently at 80kh while the lorry fought to catch us up again… not easy as it had to slow for each bend and we didn’t.

Time and again… this dratted lorry came up and threatened us… bullying us… and I was longing to see a police car which I intended to flash…

Finally, I took my stone-age mobile out of my bag. The lorry was so close that the driver could well see what I was doing. I talked into the mobile… then wound down the window…held my phone outside and took a photo of the lorry and its driver.

Ooops… like magic… the lorry dropped back and behaved itself for the next few minutes. until there was a safe passing place and it zoomed on by. We were doing the correct 90kh and OH reckoned the lorry was doing around 120/130kh…

We watched it zoom off into the distance, then grind to a slowly, slowly situation as it came up to more cars doing 90kh… and it sat on the boot of another poor driver.