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ATMB reminds you of the rules and proper practices for driving on the motorway.

On the motorway, driving is on the right, with adjusted speeds, and compliance with security distances!

The far right lane is used for traffic; the left lanes are used for overtaking.
The slow lanes (usually present on the sides) are reserved for vehicles traveling less than 60 km/h.


 Even though the speed limit is set at 130 km/h on the motorway, speed must be adapted to:

  • Climatic conditions and brightness.This general requirement is especially important on the Autoroute Blanche (A40) due to the frequent snowy conditions.
  • Traffic status
  • Weight and configuration of your vehicle (trailer, roof box, etc.).
  • To comply with the distance rules, use the ground markings between the right lane and emergency lane. Leave a two marks between you and the vehicle ahead of you.
  • If there is a traffic jam and you are in the left lane, stay in your lane: lane changes may be hazardous or slow down traffic.

As a reminder:The maximum speed limit on motorways (unless otherwise stated) is 130 km/h in dry weather, 110 km/h in wet weather or under seasonal prefectural orders, and 50 km/h if the visibility is under than 50 meters.

speed limits

From November 1st to March 31st: on the A40 between Scientrier and Le Fayet, the speed limit is lowered to 110 km/h by prefectural order (Atmospheric Protection Plan).

Driving in fog

Because of its location at the foot of Mont Blanc, fog is common on the Autoroute Blanche (A40).

Some driving rules you should be aware of:

  • If fog comes, do not brake suddenly.
  • Turn on your headlights and rear fog light.
  • Reduce speed to 50 km/h.
  • Increase your distance from the vehicle ahead of you.
  • Please stop for a while if necessary.
  • Please put on your hazard (Warning) lights if you slow down.

Overtaking on the motorway: five steps!

1. Make sure the lane on your left is open: you do not have right of way when you overtake and you must not disturb other drivers while switching lanes.
2. Use your turn signal. Pay attention to blind spots that may hide motorcycles.
3. Pull out far enough in advance to keep a safe margin.
4. Overtake the vehicle ahead of you.
5. Once you have overtaken the vehicle, get back into your lane and signal your movements using your right turn signal.

Motorway exit: don’t hesitate!

When approaching the exit, get in the right lane early, then use your turn signal. You should only slow down once you get in the exit lane.

If you think you’ve taken the wrong exit, continue on to the entrance so you can get back on the highway at no extra cost.

If you have gone past your exit, continue on to the next. Never go in the reverse direction on the motorway, even in the emergency lane: this is prohibited and extremely dangerous.

Driving in snow: vigilance and caution!

The Highway Code requires drivers to steer clear of snow removal equipment as much as possible on the motorway, in any type of lane. Furthermore, when the blue flashing light is on, overtaking is prohibited to overtake (Article 414-17 of the Highway Code). It’s a matter of safety and effectiveness: driving in the wake of the salt spreaders contributes to the effectiveness of the snow removal process.

Moreover, in snowy weather, you must use your headlights and fog lights, greatly reduce your speed, and increase your distance from other vehicles. Before your departure, make sure you have enough food and drink, and dress warmly. Make sure that you have enough petrol.

When someone is going in the wrong direction...

If you are notified that a vehicle is driving in the wrong direction either by a radio message (107.7) or by information displayed on a PMV (changing message sign):

  • Stop at the first area
  • Reduce speed to increase the safety distances and improve your line of sight
  • Definitely do not overtake

When reporting someone driving in the wrong direction, the main objective is to inform and protect customers and not endanger the operating personnel.

This is why both procedures are followed immediately when its reported that someone is driving in the wrong direction.

The first is to initiate the procedures based on the circumstances, without waiting for confirmation of the person driving in the wrong direction: stopping traffic at the nearest toll stations or in tunnels, and using gates to close off access to the motorway.

The second is to pass on the information to the police and patrols at the nearest motorway maintenance centre:

  • ATMB patrol workers through the area to locate the vehicle going in the wrong direction.
  • Security forces surround the area to intercept the vehicle.

At the same time, information is given in real time via:

  • the lighted information signs on the motorway and at motorway access points
  • the special newsflash on 107.7 FM activating a “Traffic Alert”, which interrupts the radio program. 

Where and how should I stop on the motorway?

If your stop is not due to an emergency or danger, it must be at the rest or service areas.

For other reasons: breakdown, flat tyre, illness...stop in the emergency lane (BAU):

  • Stop your vehicle
  • Turn on the hazard lights
  • Put on a fluorescent yellow vest
  • Exit your vehicle on the side not facing the traffic lanes to get behind the safety barriers.
  • Do you have passengers? Ask them to put on yellow safety vests, have them exit from the side not facing traffic, and get them behind the safety barriers. These tips are valid even if it rains or during winter. They allow you to avoid traffic lanes and prevent accidents by other careless drivers, who could impinge on the emergency lane.
  • Call for help using your SOS motorway application (link) or an emergency station.If you need to get to the nearest emergency station, always stay behind the guardrails and follow the arrows painted on the ground on the BAU.

Important: using the triangle is not mandatory and is not recommended even on the motorway.

If you can, use an emergency stop location, which are specific enlargements of the emergency lane equipped with a calling terminal. They are marked with a sign and should only be used in emergencies.

Flat tire?
Do not change it yourself in the emergency lane.Follow the safety instructions below and wait for the tow truck, once you are safely on the other side of the barrier.

Pay attention!

On the motorway, being distracted is the leading cause of accidents, which occur mainly at night and early in the afternoon.

Which means not paying attention, being drowsy, or falling asleep.

6 simple tips to stay alert at the wheel

  • Take frequent breaks (at least every 2 hours)
  • Eat lightly and avoid foods that are too fatty. Wine and alcohol are obviously prohibited.
  • Regularly get air into your vehicle: open the window and drink water.
  • Talk with passengers or listen to the radio
  • Avoid constantly looking behind you, widen your field of vision.
  • If you travel more often, take breaks from driving as much as possible.

Beware of medicines!

Nearly 2,500 drugs can cause drowsiness, visual disturbances or an impairment of alertness in drivers.

Check the logos on your drug packaging. Carefully read the package insert and talk to your doctor or pharmacist.


alertness in drivers

Share the road with heavy goods vehicles and motorcycles!

Driving with heavy goods vehicles

Because it connects France and Italy, the ATMB motorway network is used throughout the year by heavy goods vehicles.

To share the road better, they must take their size into account, which makes them drive very differently than light weight vehicles. For example, swerving or sudden braking will not have the same consequences and should be anticipated.

  • If a heavy goods vehicle overtakes another vehicle in front of you, adjust your speed to avoid having to brake suddenly.
  • If a heavy goods vehicle gets on the motorway in front of you, facilitate its access to allow it to reach the appropriate speed.
  • If you want to advance in front of a heavy goods vehicle, make sure your speed is sufficient: 100 km/h minimum.
  • If it rains and you're about to overtake a heavy goods vehicle, turn your wipers up and pull out widely so you don’t pass too closely: their large tyres spray large amounts of water.
  • If you overtake a heavy goods vehicle in strong winds, be prepared for possible swerving in different directions.
  • If a heavy goods vehicle is stopped in the emergency lane, it is polite to swerve into the left lane.

Driving with motorcycles

Treat motorcycles as if they took up the entire width of the road or lane, like any other vehicle; do not “creep” into the lane used by a motorcyclist.

In some circumstances, motorcycles are allowed to drive between traffic lanes. Be sure to facilitate their transition by avoiding changing lanes. And above all, pay attention to blind spots and signal your movements by using your indicators.

If there is a traffic jam when driving in the left lane, look in your right mirror to see if there are any motorcycles. 

Safety rules on the motorway : Safety rules on the motorway