O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

Ahh, the good ol’ rules of the road…

We’ve all had to take that test in order to get a driver’s license in the U.S.

But, what’s this test like in France? Upon first arriving in France to study in 2012, I began to wonder if there even was a test…

Cars parked on the sidewalk (Marseille).

Getting a driving permis in France is not too much différent than in the U.S.: Les Français also have to take a test; however, in France, driving school is not a part of Lycée (or high school) as it often is in the U.S.

When I visited Chicago in June 2015, I began to wonder: Which country obeys the “rules of the road” the best? I still don’t have an answer. It’s scary driving in France; it’s scary driving in the U.S. But, once you’re confortable with driving in either country, you forget how scary it actually is.

First of all, no one in Chicago obeys the speed limit. When I lived there for the first 27 years of my life, I didn’t think twice about this fact (and, I admit, I participated). In France, very few drivers go 20+ over on the autoroute (aka the tollway/highway/freeway). In Chicago, most drivers are at least going 75mph on I88 from Sugar Grove/Aurora to/from the city (the limit being 55mph). Perhaps, this is due to the very low speed limit; perhaps this is due to everyone being in a hurry… whatever the case, people do it on a regular basis. In France, the autoroute is usually set at 110kmph (70mph) if the weather is bad and 130kmph (80mph) if the weather is fine. So, there really is no reason to speed.

However, in France, the motorcyclists don’t pay any attention to the rules of the road. Sometimes I wonder if they even had to pass a test! But, it’s true, they do. I’ve seen the auto-école of motorcyclists out practicing. However, motorcyclists can be seen driving in between lanes, on sidewalks, on the shoulder… if it’s possible it’ll save them time rather than sitting in traffic then you bet they’re driving on it! It’s dangereux! Not only do you, as a driver, have to watch out for a motorcyclist to creep up on you and cut you off as you enter a rond point, you, as a pedestrian, need to watch out for them, too! I can no longer count the number of close calls that have happened as I’ve walked by Super U (for some reason, they think that the large side-walk is a roadway… um, no, it is NOT!). Hell, even the bicyclists are more conscious drivers than the motorcyclists. And, to be honnête, I’d rather be hit by a bicyclist than a motorcyclist.

In the U.S., we tend to take care of our cars; in France, they don’t give a shit.

They park up on the curb, they bang up their cars as they squeeze into a small spot on the street, they park in pedestrian walkways (this is why France has installed poles everywhere… sometimes, it helps, but not with the motorcyclists!)…

The driver of this car did not consider pedestrians with strollers as it blocks the pedestrian exit/entrance (Aix-en-Provence).

The goal is to find a free spot wherever or a paid spot close to the centre-ville. They even park in the wrong sense!

In the U.S., you risque getting towed or a ticket or both if you park like this.

In France, the police don’t care (at least it seems like they don’t care – Aix would make a ton of money if they towed every car that parked the wrong way, on the curb, or in a spot that’s not a parking spot).

There are similarités and différences between French drivers and Américain drivers; however, one thing remains the same: the motorcyclists own the road in France…

I88 (Illinois, U.S.A.).

…while the big véhicules own the road in the U.S. ♦

This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France