I have been driving around Italy now for a few weeks. I had to get an automatic car because my abilities to learn how to drive a manual transmission are fogged by too much wine and gnoccho fritto. And flourless chocolate cake with mascarpone cream…sorry got off track, this is not a post about Italian food. Allora. Just in case anyone is interested in visiting Italy and driving a car, here are some rules to live by.
- First rule of driving in Italy…you drive on the same side of the street as in the U.S. If you forget this rule, there will be consequences (and perhaps a head on collision with a Ferrari going about 200 km per hour).
- You must always go double the speed limit at any given time.
- You cannot use your cell phone while driving. I don’t think it is a law here, people are just smarter because they are trying to transverse windy mountain roads and one wrong turn leads you off the side of a cliff. I know my mom just grimaced while reading this.
- Parking lots? Who needs them. There may be lines that you are “supposed” to park in, but its just paint afterall. And the cars on the side of the road that are parked facing in all directions? Totally safe.
- Don’t be afraid to really ride someone’s ass. You should not be able to see the rear bumper or rear license plate of the car in front of you at any given time.
- They use roundabouts instead of traffic lights most of the time. I think this is just so no one has to put their foot on a brake, but hey it works and everyone gets where they need to go in record time. And they probably save gas, which is important when it costs about 89 Euro to fill up the tank of a small car.
- You really don’t need a GPS. The roads are incredibly well marked as long as you know the city you are going to and a few of the cities surrounding that city and some of the larger ones that you will get to before that and maybe some of the small rural areas as well…
We are told that this area of Italy has the “tame” drivers. In the South, I guess traffic lights are more common but they mean nothing. Red light stop green light go? Not today buddy. We are going to start taking the train a lot more now that we are venturing further from our area. Driving is fun, though. Now I know why every European is severely bored when they try to drive on the Midwestern highways.