saftey vest and warning triangle signs in France

UPDATE: As published on the Journal Officiel on May 10, 2015, the requirement to carry a high visibility vest also applies to motorcyles starting on January 1, 2016.

Just another thing to remember when you are planning a trip, but pretty easy to comply with.

Since 1 July 2008, drivers found without safety vests and warning triangles can be fined up to €750*. Effective January 1, 2016, the same requirement applies to motorcycles, to be carried in the storage compartment at all times and worn immediately in case of an emergency stop.

Legal requirements for driving in France

High-visibility reflective safety vests must be CE compliant. They must be kept in the front area of the car (for example in the glove compartment, or under the passenger seat), so that you can access them easily, before getting out of the vehicle.

These are the official steps to take in case of breakdown on a French motorway;

1. Turn on hazard lights.
2. Put on safety vest.
3. Get out of the vehicle on the passenger side (if in a British car, this will be the driver’s side, but basically NOT the road side of the vehicle).
4. Get behind the safety barrier.
5. Alert the recovery service, either by an ‘SOS’ public phone, or by calling 112 from a mobile (see rates for this service at You may have your own free recovery service with your vehicle insurance or separate breakdown cover – make you have the relevant documents to hand.
6. Stay with your vehicle (not in it) until the recovery service arrives.

A warning triangle marked E 27 R must be kept inside the vehicle. In case of a breakdown or accident it must be placed at a minimum distance of 30 metres from the vehicle.

Indicators and lights: Make sure all lamps are working, and clean. (A dirty lamp is only half as bright.) In case of a road check, your vehicle could be fined or immobilized until the defective bulb is replaced.

Source:, *
Photo: CC by redi-medic

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