Unsafe road safety in France

Roadsigns in France, copyright Le Franco PhoneyJust in case it wasn’t obvious that there’s some roadwork going on, here’s some overkill.

This cluster of road signs is right here in Saint Jean de Sixt. It starts with a roadworks sign, then a ‘circulation alternée‘ (changed traffic circulation) sign, followed by a sign to give way according to the traffic lights ahead, then a no overtaking sign, then a speed limit of 50 (which is the impossible speed limit on this windy back road anyway).

And if all those signs don’t take your concentration away from the road long enough to cause an accident, that A4 piece of paper might.

The traffic lights are typical of French roadwork. Oddly, the green light is never activated. You stop on red and you go when the orange starts flashing. This rightly confuses foreign tourists, who, waiting for a green light, don’t know whether to go or not until impatient locals overtake them. It’s not really a problem because anyone left in the queue when the light turns red again simply drives on regardless. The queue stops again when the next confused tourist pulls up.

The locals have it right: ignore all the road signs to improve road safety!


I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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2 comments on “Unsafe road safety in France
  1. Sally says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for that post – I was in St Jean last week* & hit the roadworks driving up the gorge to get there & I would have been somewhat (!) confused by the amber lights had I not read this post before going.

    *Sorry I did not see you – I was spending my time being entranced by new grand daughter. And escaping the heat by being indoors! Hope to be back in October & maybe we can meet up then.

  2. Wendy says:

    Sally, I’m so pleased this helped you! I love hearing things like this, so thanks for letting me know.

    It would be great to see you in October if you do make it back, and hopefully this heatwave will be over by then – amazingly warm here, isn’t it.

About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by wendyhollands.com, my other site.

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