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A story from Italy by Stephen & Ginetta Rochester
Driving in ITALY

As we are coming to end of our time in Italy I thought an update on the classic cars we have seen would be in order. Apart from two R4s and one 70s Alpha Spyder the answer unfortunately is none. This is the closest we have got which is an aged advert for the local Tabach

Instead of adding to this misery I thought it might be worth providing the answer we now give to the frequently asked question of what it is like driving in Italy. To date we have covered 22000kms about two thirds of what we expected to have done. Driving as we know it in Australia is all about the road rules and compliance with these rules. In Italy it seems to be your skill on the road and how road rules are interpreted.

To help explain what follows is a list of how we would interpret these rules-
  • Stop signs are an opportunity to overtake.
  • Line markings are a mistake as the the number of lanes travelling in either direction will expand or contract depending on the volume of traffic.
  • Speed limits are displays of art which may measure the maximum speed you can exceed the speed of the car you are overtaking.
  • One Way Streets give you the right to determine which direction you will travel down the street.
  • Give Way signs means give way but only if you are the slower car.
  • Roundabouts Perhaps the hardest to follow as whilst driving on the left you give way to the right unless at a roundabout where you give way to the left. The slowest car rule also applies here unless you get a mobile phone call in which case you can stop on the roundabout and all other cars will give way to you.
  • Radar Unless there are at least three temporary signs before the radar it is probably not working or has been spray painted. The exception is some residential roads with silent policeman, usually orange posts with cameras which the locals will know which one is or isn't working. Hence if you want to go anywhere it is important to follow a local.
  • Flashing headlights are not an ok to proceed but an indication that the road is rougher and has more potholes than usual.
  • Motorways None of the above rules apply, cars will keep to the left, will merge in an orderly way when the number of lanes change and will otherwise indicate clearly when changing lanes.
  • The horn Usually a measure of road tranquility and generally only used when your car is stationary for longer than you think is fair and just. A decision that only seems to take a split second to make.
Given the Australian obsession with rules and compliance you would think that Australia would be a safer place to drive in. Whilst we may have an exemplary low coronavirus incidence due to rules, roads show a different picture of higher mortality and accident rates than occur in Europe. To protect against fake conclusions this view is based on information provided by Wikipedia which since it is available on the internet must be true.
Cheers Stephen & Ginetta