Here are some rules and driving tips that you should know before you start your road trip in France:
Normal driving is on the right, with passing and overtaking on the left. Where there are designated traffic lanes, vehicles may ‘overtake’ traffic on the right occupying slow-moving lanes. On steep hills in France, uphill traffic has priority - downhill traffic must give way.
A great tip to know when driving in France is at all intersections, priority must be given to traffic approaching from the right, unless there are road signs indicating otherwise.
Always give way to police and other emergency vehicles.
Horns must only be used where there is immediate danger. During the hours of darkness, warnings should be given by flashing lights instead.
The Drink Driving maximum limit in France is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Police are allowed to make random breath tests.
carriageways; 90 km/h on other roads; and 50 km/h in built-up areas. These limits are reduced in the event of bad weather and/or poor visibility.
Reduced speed limits also apply for new drivers, and drivers under the age of 21.
Speed camera detectors, including onboard sat nav features, are illegal in France - so download the latest sat nav maps for France to avoid this problem.
On motorways, only the official breakdown service may be used – make contact via orange emergency phones.
When driving in France a tip to bear in mind is it is illegal to allow passengers to travel inside a moving caravan. Child passengers under 10 must use an approved child restraint. In France, the type of restraint specified depends on the weight of the child.
Here are the speed limits to abide by when driving in France in dry weather:
Rural 2 & 3 lane roads are a maximum of 90 km/h
4 lane expressways are a maximum of 110 km/h
Highways are a maximum of 130 km/h in rural area
There is a maximum of 50 km/h in urban areas
These limits are then adjusted when raining to 80 km/h, 100 km/h & 110 km/h. It is also worth noting a driving tip for the Paris Ring Road is has a limit of 80 km/h.
The following documents should be carried at all times, when driving in France:
Proof of ID – usually a passport
Proof of Insurance –
Proof of ownership or a Vehicle on Hire Certificate
A current, full UK driving licence – driver must be at least 18 years old in France
For driving in France, your car will need a GB Sticker, and the law specifies that vehicles must also carry the following items of equipment:
A red warning triangle
A high-visibility reflective jacket
Breathalyser testing kit
If you have a full EU driving license and are over the age of 18, then you are eligible to drive in Spain. The rules of the road are very similar to most other European countries.
In addition to the rules above there are fines for not indicating on Spanish motorways, ensure that you bear this in mind when changing lanes. When merging onto a motorway do not cross over the solid white line, wait until you have reached the point where the line is broken. Also it is expected that when traffic suddenly slows, you apply your hazard lights to warn those driving behind you.
The drink driving laws are more strict than in the UK with an allowance of 50mg/100ml (in the UK this is 80mg/100ml). However, they also have a stricter rule for new drivers that only allows them a legal limit of 20mg/100ml. Do not get caught out, the consequences are similar to the UK and in some circumstances you could expect more than a fine
A few tips if you are driving in Spain:
The Spanish motorways or 'autopistas' are toll roads, so ensure you have money to hand when driving a route that includes motorways.
A blue and white curb is similar to the double yellow lines system and indicates that you can wait briefly as long as the driver is still inside the vehicle. Blue spaces indicate a parking charge (you may have to walk a short distance to find a ticket machine), there are charges for not paying or overstaying.
On the spot fines are common, so firstly ensure you get a receipt if issued with one, if you are not carrying cash then you will be escorted to the nearest cash machine to draw out money.
The use of mobile phones is prohibited at any point behind the wheel. This includes being parked up beside the road, to use your phone you must leave the vehicle or be sat in the passenger seat.
The speed limits enforced in Spain are as follows:
Ordinary roads: 90km/h
Roads with more than one lane in each direction: 100km/h
Motorways and Dual Carriageways: 120km/h
Some tips on a number of items you must have in your vehicle when driving in Spain:
2 reflective warning triangles.
First aid kit
Please ensure your tag is fitted in the correct position as shown here.
Your tag position is key to ensuring fines are not received when using one of Portugal's free flow toll roads. If your vehicle is Portuguese registered we recommend you follow the instructions below entitled 'Hiring a Car in Portugal' this will avoid the risk of you receiving a fine for any transactions not recorded at the roadside. Our VIA-T tag cannot be used to pay for parking in Portugal even though you will see the Via Verde sign at a lot of car park entrances such as Faro airport.
Here are some rules and driving tips that you should make yourself aware of before you start your road trip in Portugal:
When driving in Portugal remember that you have to drive on the right hand side of the road.
Compulsory for front and rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.
Children under 12 and less than 1.50m in height cannot travel as front seat passengers. They must travel in the rear in a special restraint system adapted to their size, unless the vehicle has only two seats, or is not fitted with seat belts. Children under 3 can be seated in the front passenger seat if using a suitable child restraint however, the airbag must be switched off if using a rear-facing child restraint system.
You must be aged 17 or older, however visitors under the age of 18 years may encounter problems even though they hold a valid UK licence.
Drinking and driving limits - If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.05 per cent to 0.08 per cent, you could face a fine and withdrawal of the driving licence for a minimum of one month to a maximum of one year; more than 0.08 per cent, fine and withdrawal of driving licence for a minimum of two months up to a maximum of two years. The police are also empowered to carry out testing on drivers for narcotics.
Use of dipped headlights is compulsory in poor daytime visibility and in tunnels.
Third-party insurance is compulsory.
Use of mobile phones when driving is illegal in Portugal and subject to a fine of up to € 600.00.
Please make sure that you are aware of all the road regulations before you start your trip in Portugal.
The standard legal limits for driving in Portugal, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers are as follows:
In built-up areas 31 mph (50 km/h)
Outside built-up areas 55 mph (90 km/h) or 62 mph (100 km/h)
On motorways 74 mph (120 km/h)
The minimum speed on motorways 31 mph (50 km/h)
Motorists who have held a driving licence for less than one year must not exceed 55 mph (90 km/h) or any lower speed limit.
It is a legal requirement when driving in Portugal that everyone carries photographic proof of identity at all times.
Reflective jackets are compulsory for residents and recommended for visitors.
Your VIA-T Electronic Toll Tag for using the motorways in Portugal.
Carrying a warning triangle recommended as the use of hazard warning lights or a warning triangle is compulsory in an accident/breakdown situation. A warning triangle is compulsory for vehicles registered in Portugal.
We have been informed that customers shouldn’t use their VIA-T tags in a Portuguese hire car. This is because some hire cars are already registered with Via Verde thus enabling transactions that have not been recorded at the roadside to be allocated to the Via Verde account. In the extremely unlikely event that this occurs the Hire Car Company will charge an administration fee to provide your details to the authority/toll road operator.
However there is a solution if you are traveling to the Algarve....
All you need to do is check for outstanding tolls recorded against your hire cars license plate. All you need is your hire car's licence plate and to wait for 2 days after using the road, then input the hire cars registration number (remember the "-") into either the CTT website / App or Via Livre website.. You can then pay for any outstanding transactions made on the A22 here on the Via Livre website.
For payment of other Tolls you will need to visit a Portuguese Post Office.
If you choose to use this solution you do so at your own risk.
NB. Via-T have been operating in Portugal since 2013 and have never been informed that their tags cannot be used in hire cars – we apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Firstly please read the previous "Hiring a Car in Portugal? Important Information" section above. Then if you are hiring a car at Faro airport and using your Sanef Tolling VIA-T tag it’s extremely important you check your hire car does not have a toll tag in it already. If it does, remove it and give it back to the hire car company before you leave the airport or ensure that it is in the foil bag / box provided. Having two tags (anywhere) in the car at the same time will cause issues and can result in double changing.
We have had reports that some unscrupulous hire car companies are misleading customers by telling them they must take the hire car company toll tag as it’s required to get out of the carpark! This is absolutely not true despite what they tell you.
Summary: the tolls are the same cost that you would pay at the barrier. This new service simply allows you to use the automated lanes saving you time and reducing the hassle of manually paying tolls in euros.
Monthly Active Service Fee
A monthly fee is payable for each calendar month that you actively use your tag on a toll road but only up to a maximum of €10 in a single year i.e. if you purchase a tag in June and then use your tag in July and August, you will be charged €10 (€5 for July and €5 for August) but you will not be charged a monthly active service fee for the remaining months up to and including the following May. A new 12 month period would start in June.
All toll charges incurred.
Yearly Account Management fee
Once a year a fee of €7.20 (€6+TVA)
All fees and tolls will be collected by direct debit in £GBP. (the exchange rate used in outlined below)
Our operating costs are slightly different and subsequently so are our fees. In addition to this, the usage profile of UK customers is very different from those of local residents who obviously use their tags much more frequently.
The exchange rate that we use is the average for the calendar month the invoice is for. It is based on the average mid market commercial exchange rate (NOT the tourist rate) for the month that the tolls were incurred The daily historic mid market rate used to compute the average are sourced from exchangerates.org.uk.
There is a 2%+Local VAT (equivalent to circa 2.4%) foreign exchange finance charge when converting the currency but the overall exchange rate is still very competitive.
An example is provided below using the French TVA rate and is based on rates obtained on 12th December 2013.
Local VAT (French VAT) is charged at 20.0% (prior to 01/01/2014 Local VAT was charged at a rate of 19.6%)
Exchange Rate £1 = €1.19
Foreign Exchange Finance Charge: 2%+Local VAT (equivalent to 2.4%)
Total bill in Euros inc. Local VAT: €100
Total foreign exchange finance charge @ 2.4% inc. Local VAT: €2.4
Total bill in GBP (converted at £1 = €1.19): £86.05
This is more favourable than rates provided by a leading UK trusted brand on the same day:
M&S Travel Money (0% commission, £1 = €1.14): £87.72
M&S Visa Card (2.99% commission, £1 = €1.188779): £86.63
No. The only way of paying for the UK service is by direct debit from a UK bank account.
There is a one off charge for the tag (refundable), an initial admin charge to cover logistics and 3rd party fees, a low annual management fee of €6 plus a €5 charge every month that you use it in France, Spain or Portugal (limited to a maximum of 10€ per year per tag). The exchange rate we get is better than the high street, so you might save a few pence on each toll payment.
It depends on where you start and finish! There is a toll calculator for all of France, Spain and Portugal (in English) here. This will enable you to input the start and the end of your route and automatically calculate the tolls.
We bill by calendar month. Invoice notification emails are sent out by email around the 10th of the month and payment is collected on the last business day of the month. For example if you subscribe in July, you will receive your first invoice on 10th August which will contain your setup fees, deposit and any tolls accrued in the month of July. Payment will be taken from your bank account by direct debit on the last business day of August.
Orders received before 14:00 (Monday to Friday) will be shipped by Royal Mail 1st Class post on the same day so you should expect to receive your tag in 1 to 2 business days. If you select 'guaranteed next day delivery' your tag will be received on the next working day (including Saturday for orders placed Friday). For orders placed after 2pm the order will be dispatch the next working day. The parcel is small enough to fit through your letter box and does not require a signature unless you selected guaranteed next day delivery which needs signing for or Royal Mail will leave a card and you can collect the package from your local sorting office within 7 days.
No. For security reasons, we are only able to deliver the tags to your home address. The parcel is small enough to fit through your letter box and does not require a signature unless you selected guaranteed next day delivery that does need signing for.
If you need an additional tag to be payable from the same bank account e.g for additional family members, you need to sign up as normal. You will then be able to log into your 'My Account' page and there is an option to order an additional tag. There is a charge of €5+Local VAT per tag for 1st class postage and packing and also an additional €20 refundable deposit payable per tag. The charges for all your tags will be shown on your monthly invoice.
Your tag will be shipped with one clip. If you require additional clips, please go to your 'My Account' area to place the order and we will send you the additional clips at a cost of €2+Local VAT each including the First Class postage, the cost will be added to your next invoice. If you need some additional clips quickly there is also a guaranteed next day delivery option for an extra €10 + Local VAT
Additional clips can also be obtained from one of the Sanef points of sale in France. A single additional clip will normally be provided for free with additional clips at €2. The location of the Sanef points of sale can be found here.
A limited supply of free clips are also held at the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Folkestone Terminal behind the 'Customer Service desk'
The tag must be visible from above in the centre-top of the windscreen so that it can be detected by the transponder by the barrier at the toll plaza. Please read these instructions prior to fixing the tag. The tag MUST be placed behind the rear view mirror on the shaded / mottled area.
THIS IS CRITICAL FOR VEHICLES WITH ATHERMIC WINDSCREENS.
Some model of car may not have this shaded area. If this is the case simply place the tag behind the rear view mirror as shown above. All issues with athermic windscreens can be overcome by holding the tag out of the vehicle side window, this should only be done when stationary in the toll plaza lane.
Some vehicles are known to have equipment in the mottled area such as rain sensors or automatic emergency braking sensors. E.g. Volvo XC60 / 90, some Mercedes.
The mottled / shaded area behind the rear view mirror will be free of any heat reflective metallic coating that is sometimes applied to the glass in the factory to reflect the sun and keep the car interior cool on a hot day. The tag must go in the mottled area as it is free of any heat reflective coating, so the signal to it is not blocked by the metallic coating on the glass.
In situations like this please fix the tag on the clear windscreen glass next to the casing of the equipment that is occupying the mottled/shaded area.
If you have a People Carrier / MPV or Van with a long windscreen please note: The tag needs to face forward towards the barrier, not upwards towards the sky.
N.B. If you have a motorhome with a "Luton" / overhanging sleeping compartment you MUST ensure that the Tag has "line of sight" with the reader (i.e. can see the reader on top of the pole by the barrier). If you install the tag behind the rear vision mirror it may not be able to see the Tag reader and will not work - in this instance you have to put the tag at the bottom of the windscreen BUT ONLY if you do not have an athermic windscreen. Or hold out of the side window when stopped in the toll plaza lane.
Vehicles known to have athermic windscreens are listed below but this list is not exhaustive so please check with your vehicle manufacturer before fitting your tag.
BMW: 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, X3, X5
Citroen: Picasso, C5Xsara, Xantia
Ford: Galaxy, S-Max, Mondeo
Mercedes: W220-S Class, Vaneo
Peugeot: 206, 306, 307, 607
Renault: Traffic, Scenic, Espace, Megane, Safrane, Laguna, Clio, Master, Kangoo, Picasso Vauxhall: Zafira
No. But if you have a new car with a metallic windscreen you need to fit the tag in the black spotted area under the rear vision mirror as this lets the signal through.
Yes, we will make sure your tag works before it is posted to you. The transponder that reads your tag is next to the barrier so please get right up to the barrier so your tag can be read. When the tag arrives you will need to confirm receipt of the tag on our website by following the instructions provided with the tag before it can be used.
You should activate your tag on receipt in your 'My Account' area.
You should approach the barrier at walking pace. Once the transaction has completed, the tag will "beep", the traffic light will change to green and the barrier will open.
On certain dedicated lanes you can drive through at up to 30 km/hr, these lanes are clearly signed as follows
In France Cars and trailers under 2m can use any lane showing the but you will find there is often a tag only lane on the left hand side of the plaza that will save you most time.
Motorbikes, Caravan and motorhome or vehicles between 2m and 3m tall and less than 3.5t, i.e. Class 2 or 5 should use ANY non height restricted lane that has the Liber-t symbol illuminated.
Light vehicles (cars, car + caravan, motorbikes and motor homes up to 3.5 tonnes) can use any lane showing the VIA-T symbol in Spain or the Vía-Verde symbol in Portugal.
The Sanef Tolling Liber-t tag will work in France only.
The Sanef Tolling VIA-T tag will work in Spain and Portugal only.
Sanef Tolling is a separate company to Emovis Operations Leeds who operate the Dartford crossing.
The contact details for Emovis Operations Leeds are firstname.lastname@example.org
Emovis Operations Leeds telephone number is 0300 300 0120
Yes! There is no link to a particular vehicle. You can also lend it to your friends if you like, but please note: You are the account holder and are responsible for all tolls and fees incurred.
Sometimes the sheer volume of tag users means there is a bit of a queue on the way in to the toll plaza. However, the tag lane is always the fastest moving lane.
The battery in the tag is designed to last between 5 and 7 years depending on how often it is used and how it's looked after. We recommend not leaving your tag in your vehicle when it's not in use, particularly over winter. If your tag stops working, please contact us and we will send you a new one.
If your tag battery is shown as near expiry or expired in your 'My Account' area you should swap out your Liber-t tag by selecting 'Order Additional Tag' and 'Return a Tag'. The tag is a sealed device and can not be opened to change the battery, just order an additional tag then return the old tag to receive the €20 deposit refund. Take care to order the type of tag you require (Liber-t or VIA-T).
In France on certain dedicated class 1 Liber-t lanes there is a 2 metre height limit. These are always on the left hand side of the toll plaza. However there is always other lanes available for vehicles over 2 metres or class 5 (motorbikes), simply go though one of the other open lanes that is displaying the Liber-t or VIA-T symbol.
Yes! Provided your vehicle and caravan overall height is less than 3 metres and GVW of the towing vehicle does not exceeding 3.5 tonnes. You can use any non height restricted lane that has the Liber-t symbol illuminated.
Yes, you can use the VIA-T lane with a car + caravan
You can use a Liber-t tag with a car and be charged as a Class 1 vehicle yVehicle with overall height under 2 metres and GVW* not exceeding 3.5 tonnes Train with overall height under 2 metres and GVW* of towing vehicle not exceeding 3.5 tonnes. Cars with roofloads such as roofboxes or bicycles are still Class 1 even though they may exceed 2m.Only Class 1 vehicles may use the height restricted lanes Class 1 vehicles may also use the non-height restricted lanes
Yes you can use the Via-T Lane
As long as your vehicle is lower than 3 metres and less than 3.5 tonnes GVW you can use any non height restricted lane that has the Liber-t symbol illuminated. A vehicle of this size falls into the Class 2 fee structure. If your vehicle is larger than this then please contact our sister company Eurotoll.
Providing your motorhome weighs less than 3.5 tonnes you can use the VIA-T lane
N.B. If you have a motorhome with a "luton" / overhanging sleeping compartment you MUST ensure that the Tag has "line of sight" with the reader (i.e. can see the reader on top of the pole). If you install the tag at the top of the windscreen behind the rear vision mirror it may not be able to see the Tag reader and will not work - in this instance you have to put the tag at the bottom of the windscreen BUT ONLY if you do not have an athermic windscreen.
You can use a Liber-t tag with a motorcycle with some limitations, the main one being that to avoid being charged as Class 1 vehicle you must use the manual lane and hand over the tag to the person in the toll booth. They will use a barcode scanner to read the tag and will charge you as a Class 5 vehicle. The main advantage is that it saves you fumbling for cash / payment cards with gloves on. If there is no manned lane, use the automated Liber-t lane. When using the automated lane on a motorcycles just hold your tag up to the gantry or put it in your top jacket pocket, ensuring it is the correct way round as per the instructions it came with. Take care that you are in the middle of the lane, right up to the barrier and no other vehicle or motorbikes are in the lane as the equipment in the automated lane may register you as a larger vehicle and charge for a car (class 1). You can check your transactions in the 'My Account' area a few days later. If this happens you would need to contact us and request a toll adjustment. If you use the automatic lane then we can only request a toll adjustment if you have used the non-height restricted Liber-t lane, all vehicles using the 2 meter (car only) height restricted lane will be classed as class 1 with no option to adjust this.
When using the VIA-T lane on a motorcycles just hold your tag up to the gantry or put it in your top jacket pocket, ensuring it is the correct way round as per the instructions it came with. Take care that you are in the middle of the lane, right up to the barrier and no other vehicle or motorbikes are in the lane.
Vehicles with trailers (class 1 or class 2) should use use any non height restricted lane that has the Liber-t symbol illuminated.
Vehicles with trailers should use any lane that has the VIA-T symbol in Spain or the Vía-Verde symbol in Portugal.
If you are a Class 1 vehicle and have a roof load such as a roof box or bicycle that takes your overall height over 2m, you will still be charged as a Class 1 vehicle. There is equipment (laser and 3D imaging) in the Liber-t lanes that can distinguish between 'Class 1 + roofload' and Class 2 vehicles. You should be charged at Class 1 rate.
Occasionally however, this auto detection equipment may incorrectly identify you as Class 2. We advise you to check your bill when you receive it or view your future toll balance in your 'Account Summary' area and if you have been incorrectly charged at Class 2 rate, please open a toll adjustment request. Just go to your 'Account Summary' area, scroll down and next to 'My Tags' click 'View Tolls', click on the toll you wish to be adjusted, click 'Raise a Toll Adjustment Request' and complete the toll adjustment request form. We will ensure that you are reimbursed the difference the following month. Toll adjustments must be requested within 3 months of the transaction date.
Vehicles with roof load should use any lane that has the VIA-T symbol
The Liber-t tag is only for class 1, 2 & 5 vehicles. Sanef Tolling does not offer the TIS-PL tag for class 3 and 4 vehicles, but our sister company Eurotoll do offer the TIS-PL tag for Class 3 and 4 vehicles.
The VIA-T tag is for light vehicles. That's cars, car + caravan, motorbikes and motorhomes upto 3.5 tonnes. We are unable to offer a tag for heavy vehicles for the Spanish and Portuguese road networks.
You are not responsible for any toll usage after you tell us your tag has been lost or stolen, so if this does happen please do not delay in telling us so we can place a block on the tag to prevent unauthorised usage.
Tags do 273 million transactions a year in France alone – probably a billion around the world so we are confident it will. But if things do go wrong. Simply hand the tag to any of the operators in the toll booths – they will then charge it as if it worked, or tell you if you need to pay using an alternative payment method. You must activate your tag when it arrives at your address – it will not work unless you do this, just follow the simple instructions that are provided with or go to your 'My Account' area here.
We did some customer analysis and we found that only a small number of our customers drive in both France and Spain, most either drive to France by ferry or travel to Spain again by ferry or fly drive. Making one single tag work in both places would add cost to customers for a feature most wouldn’t need, so we went for 2 seperate tags. If you do drive across the border we recommend you swap tags rather than fit both.
We will monitor the number of people wanting both tags and welcome feedback as we may consider a change, but our key aim is to keep costs down for now.
It includes all the toll motorways in France (excluding the Mont Blanc and Fréjus tunnels). Although Sanef run the toll roads in northern France, the new tag will work with every toll road across France. Sanef will simply send you one single bill for your entire trip.Click here for general information about the network, planning your trip, facilities, radio traffic news in English (107.7FM on the hour, every hour) and how Sanef put the customer first. The Tag also works on any car park displaying the logo.
All the motorways in Mainland Spain work with the VIA-t tag showing the VIA-T symbol.
All Portuguese toll roads showing the Vía-Verde symbol, This include the A22 in the Algarve.It is normal for the tag to not beep at every overhead gantry as you pass under them on the A22 free flow toll road providing the tag is fitted as per the instructions here.
Yes! There are free roads if you do not like smooth, high quality motorways and don’t mind arriving late for your ferry. The N138 is our favourite, but a section of that is shut in mid June so the Brits can race cars on it (Le Mans).
No, you so not need to notify us when you change vehicle. The tag works in any vehicle upto 3m in height and 3.5 tonnes.
The data in our system can’t be used by law enforcement agencies for detecting excessive speed, but please do keep in mind that speeding is taken very seriously. French police patrols and radar traps employ heavy fines. The speed limit on French roads is 130kph (when it is dry - anyway) – a bit more than in the UK. The time you save with a tag means you won’t have to think about speeding, or the cost of missing the ferry.
We keep the identity of the user and the tag information as separate data – we cannot track your movements. We simply know when you pay for a toll. There is no record on the tag either.
Yes. Blue badge holders who have a Class 2 vehicle (not valid for car + caravan) are entitled to be charged at Class 1 rate if the vehicle is adapted for disabled persons. However, in order to be charged at Class 1 rate in the automated lane, you will need to stop and press the intercom button to request the correct toll to be applied. Alternatively you can use the manual lane and hand over your tag to be scanned. Please note the reduction is applied at the discretion of the particular auto route operator of the toll road you are using. More information can be found at here
All vehicles using the VIA-T tag (cars, car + caravan, motorbikes and motorhomes up to 3.5 tonnes.) are classed / charged at the same rate so a discount is not applicable.
The service we offer is for consumers, not businesses. Our advice to people wishing to use a Liber-t or VIA-T tag for business is to subscribe using a personal bank account and then claim back through your company's expenses process.
Simply download and complete this form and return it and your Sanef France tag to the specified address
Click here to access the list of French Car Parks that can be accessed with your Liber-t Tag.
Would you like a tag for Italy? We would like to register your interest, please send us an email here.