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I have been getting all kind of warnings about Italian drivers, like don't stop at red lights or stop signs because you will get rear ended, speed limits don't mean anything, and they make their own lanes. Is any of this true?
 

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It's not just Italy, but I have heard it said that European drivers are more "aggressive" than US drivers. OTOH, several Europeans have commented to me that the drivers in the US are "so polite" - something I can't say I've ever experienced, being from the Boston area, but that's the impression at least.

It definitely pays to bone up a bit on the European driving rules. "Priority from the right" is one that catches many Americans off guard. And it is worth learning the various pictograph road signs and some of the differences in the driving rules.

But even within Europe, I must say that the Italian drivers do have a reputation for being a bit "wild and crazy."
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Wow! Good question, especially if you intend to rent a car! By the way, is renting a car the same as "hiring" a car? Or is hinging a car come with a hired driver? Hope this isn't a silly question. Maybe it's just the different terminology from country to country...
 

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Wow! Good question, especially if you intend to rent a car! By the way, is renting a car the same as "hiring" a car? Or is hinging a car come with a hired driver? Hope this isn't a silly question. Maybe it's just the different terminology from country to country...
"Hiring a car" is just Brit-speak for what we Americans call "renting a car." The other thing to realize, though, is that if you rent/hire a car in Europe, there is a very good chance you'll get a manual transmission car unless you make specific arrangements for an automatic (or a hybrid).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Driving in Italy is a bit like eating watermelon... You know the rules of how to eat, and so does everyone else, and yet somehow it still ends up all down your front.

Anyway let me put those rumours to rest for you.
You should ALWAYS drive within the law! If the light is red, stop. If the limit is 100, stay at 100 or less. Just because Italians don't follow the rules doesn't mean you should, they are habitually bad drivers and because of that it works, however throw a foreigner in who doesn't know what to expect and this could lead to chaos.

You will make no friends on the road in italy so don't try to. Drive sensibly and you will be fine and have more time to react to the stupidity around you.

Also another rule, when a driver is flashing his lights at you this does NOT mean please take the right of way like in most countries, this actually means 'I'm coming through, get out of my way'.

Generally speaking the further south you go the less discipline there is in the driving and the less likely you will get in trouble for being over the speed limit.

But as before my advice would be ignore the crazies and be on your best behaviour when driving. If you have an accident you are the foreigner and for this fact alone the fault will be yours!

Happy travels

Kenzo
 

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If you're a big city driver it'll be fairly boring. Nothing new. Nothing extreme. Assuming you know the rules of the road.

Very few red lights really. Lots of round abouts. One issue you'll face is the lights are much closer to you. In North America they're on the opposite side of the road. That means you can stop at the line and still see the lights on the other side of the road. If you do that here you'll never see the light go green.

California stops are common. Invented by Gerry Brown I think

Lanes? Drive on the right and you'll be fine. If you insist on wandering the road people will get upset
 

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I have been given the same warnings and I honestly don't get them (I picked up a rental in Switzerland and the nice lady at Europcar turned pale when I told her I'm heading to Italy, she claimed she would never dare drive in Italy, another Swiss I know claims he says a prayer when crossing into Italy in a car).

Granted I've only had ~100 hours of driving in Italy, but I found it to be perfectly fine. You run into a lot of speed demons but they keep proper distance in single lane roads, pass when they are able and don't bother you from driving within the speed limit.

Maybe I will change my mind with more experience but with all the warnings I kept getting I just felt obligated to share my personal, perhaps insufficient, positive experience.
 

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I think Kenzo is right that there is a North and South divide, there are more erratic drivers in the South. In the 7-8 years we have been here (Abruzzo) the motorways is the place we have seen horror shows. Worst was a guy overtaking us on the motorway exit, on the inside and only on two of the four wheels the panda had!
 

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Worst driving I've seen. A Belgian tour bus passing on a narrow bridge. Bridge was one lane in each direction with no shoulder. Two different English drivers going the wrong way around a round about.
 

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Worst driving I've seen. A Belgian tour bus passing on a narrow bridge. Bridge was one lane in each direction with no shoulder. Two different English drivers going the wrong way around a round about.
To be fair to the English drivers it was the right way, just the wrong country:rolleyes:
 

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I think Kenzo is right that there is a North and South divide, there are more erratic drivers in the South. In the 7-8 years we have been here (Abruzzo) the motorways is the place we have seen horror shows. Worst was a guy overtaking us on the motorway exit, on the inside and only on two of the four wheels the panda had!
Hehe that is common occurance in Sicily! I have been both over and undertaken at the same time on a motorway exit and even I was above the speed limit!:eek:

You just need your wits about you and don't get angry. Hum a lullaby :D
 

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I have been getting all kind of warnings about Italian drivers, like don't stop at red lights or stop signs because you will get rear ended, speed limits don't mean anything, and they make their own lanes. Is any of this true?
Nothing but myths :yo: If you're used to driving in big cities, you won't have an issue. The only difference in Italy might be in the city centers, where due to old towns, lanes might be smaller and appear more chaotic, harder to orientate, parking more difficult, but nothing too serious. You'll get used to it and perhaps even start acting 'italian' on the road, lol :israel:
 
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