Vacationers beware: this is the only ring road in Europe where combined traffic takes priority  car

Vacationers beware: this is the only ring road in Europe where combined traffic takes priority car

Dutch people who go on holiday abroad sometimes have to deal with strange traffic rules. Every country has one or two exceptions, but in one country, a seemingly inverted priority rule can lead to dangerous situations.

In Britain, for example, anyone who wets pedestrians or cyclists by driving into a puddle as a motorist risks a fine of between £100 and £5,000, plus three penalty points on their licence. In Spain, you may be fined if you drive in flip flops or stick an arm or other body part out of the window. But the strangest rule is that it is forbidden to wear anything that covers your ears, whether it is a hat or headphones.

Check the bottom of the car

In Germany, you can drive as fast as you like in many places, but if you run out of gas on the motorway you can expect a hefty fine – and sometimes a driving ban. And in Denmark, before driving, motorists are required to check the bottom of their car to “make sure children don’t sleep under it”.

In many cases, these are innocent and even funny things that rarely lead to serious situations. This varies with different traffic rule in France. There, traffic consolidation on the Périphérique – the ring road around Paris – takes priority over traffic on the main thoroughfare. This rule is generally known to the French, who use it avidly by swinging their car invisibly onto the main road, something that sometimes leads to sudden braking interventions in the Dutch.

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“Unsociable Parisians”

“Until recently, we always stayed at Periferique in Paris,” says Martin Kouwenhoven, owner of a vacation home in the Dordogne. Also because we often drive with a trailer. But we noticed these Parisians driving in such an antisocial mode by cutting us off just like that at the merge, until we heard from a French guy that the traffic consolidation has priority there. Since then, we have avoided the right path as much as possible.”

The reason traffic consolidation is a priority is because the 35-kilometer Boulevard Péripherique does not officially have motorway status. “It’s an urban road,” says Sanne Over of the ANWB. “This means that traffic from the right has priority according to French motorway law.” Perhaps the reason they chose this is because the entrances and exits are short and often end at a sidewalk or viaduct rather than an emergency walkway.

Second lane from the right

Therefore, experienced drivers of France are advised to drive as far as possible in the second lane from the right. This will prevent you from getting blown up by incorporating Parisians. The downside is that you theoretically have less stress when you’re merging on this Paris ring road. After all, everyone has to give way to you, according to French motorway law.

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