It's not possible to pass on the topic of Italian driving, it's practically a must to discuss it. Everyone knows about the speed they go but other nationalities have fast drivers, it's the rest of it that causes the intake of breath to those unaccustomed to the road use in this country.
If a road has two lanes remember it can be used to make 3 or even 4. If there is no rule to allow for undertaking, well forget it, undertaking/overtaking - as long as you get past, hey? Keep both hands on the wheel at all times? How on earth can an Italian speak? At least one hand will be waving around if not both if there is a passenger in the car. See a friend walking past? That's OK, stop and have a chat for a couple of minutes, or drive alongside them. Sometimes you may see another friend in the car in front - just catch up and drive alongside them, this last does happen but more usually it happens with Vespa drivers. In fact, on the topic of Vespas two seats can translate into 4, perfect for the whole family, and don't forget to nip in and around all other traffic. If you have one too many for the seats, never mind op someone on the handlebars.
Roundabouts, not really understood yet by the average Italian, a fairly new thing brought in which they are till trying to work out. To use a roundabout you wait till there is a space then nip in, drive round to your exit and come out, but many drivers in Italy still stop on the roundabout to let on cars waiting to get on causing a backlog jamming it up. It's happening less but they are still being too generous by allowing waiting cars on instead of driving off first.
It's just utter fearlessness, surprisingly although there are a lot of road accidents you would imagine more of them. What keep the accidents from happening is that people expect these things to happen, they know that someone might pull out in front, or stop suddenly to chat, or come in from the wrong side. The expectations keep them alert at all times so reducing problems. It's the same for crossing the road, many people visiting Italy can be scared at crossing these roads but in actual fact it's so much easier and safer, instead of the pedestrian watching the cars the drivers are watching for people to cross in front of them and can slow down in time to keep them safe. If you want to cross just step out and do it without too much speed or too slowly and you will be fine.
By the way, there was a law passed prohibiting the use of car horns unless necessary so there isn't as much as there used to be, the roads are quieter, but not quiet by any means.
I was going to write about the crazy parking but as my post is getting longer with every word and I came upon a very timely Twitter post on it I will link to an online newspaper article which explains it all. Everything in the article is pretty much commonplace seen every day all over the place, do read it and look at the photos.
|Photo from here|