Wednesday, 4 July 2012

definitely dodgy driving...

Personally, driving in Italy is not something I'm a fan of.

I've done it before, and I'll do it again I'm sure, but it's not up there with 'stuff Amy likes doing'. Of course, not only do I have to drive on the 'other side' and steer on the 'other side', I also have to SURVIVE.
Driving in Italy is so very questionable. I remember driving down to Lecce with some friends last summer, and I was literally covering my eyes I was that afraid. And not because the driver was bad. Oh no. Everyone else was bad. And dangerous.

In the south, or in my area at least, driving is incredibly dodgy. No one wears a seatbelt, kids are sat in the front seat without seatbelts, people talk on their phones, no one indicates ( one...ever) and pulling out in front of an oncoming car is normal. Parking is downright comical. People stop in the middle of the road for no reason. And nobody seems to have any patience. For a country that is pretty laid back and chilled out, when it comes to travelling by car, haste and impatience is key. As the light goes green on the traffic light, give it about a millisecond before someone (or 5 people) honk their horn. Oh and talking of traffic lights...

spotted!! in Foggia

I'm pretty sure that's a red light. But who knows.

And mopeds. Let's talk about mopeds. Firstly, I want one. A nice vespa. A red one. They're so cool. And secondly, the people who drive them are even more irresponsible than those in cars. Youngsters without helmets swerve between cars and don't look where they're going. Recently there have been a couple of accidents near my little town (involving cars and mopeds), and teenagers have actually died. Dangerous mopeds and dangerous cars. All we need is a constant stream of cyclists to add to the mix. Luckily there aren't too many of those (could be to do with the fact that my town is on a big hill).

You'd think, therefore, that being a pedestrian is really taking a walk on the wild side. Well, strangely enough, it isn't. In the town centre pedestrians seem to be given precedence. (This is small town Italy though...I'm pretty sure the same thing doesn't apply in Rome..) Cars will slow down for you. They will let you cross. They won't indicate to show you which way they are turning, rendering you confused and a bit annoyed (or maybe that's just me?) but they will wait for you. Many people I know see a car coming and take this a signal to go. I've started to do this too, which makes for a very worried mum when I'm back in the UK.

So is there anything else positive about Italian drivers, other than their patience with pedestrians? Well, not really. Although if it's any consolation (which it isn't really, but hear me out), everyone drives like this. And if you drive carefully or sensibly, people think you're mad. Why on earth did she just stop at the red light? Why on earth did she indicate? Good grief- she's wearing a seatbelt!! What on earth is this 'hands free' thingy?? So if your parking is a bit wonky, or you pull out in front of someone cutting it a bit fine...don't worry. By all means, don't start driving like they do, but if you do accidentally do a bit of dodgy manouevering, it's ok. The person next to you will have done much worse. And the person next to him. And the person next to him...

For some more info on driving in Italy (such as types of road, speed limits and parking rules, have a look here.


  1. I love this post. I was seriously laughing out loud - especially for that picture of the stop light in Foggia. Seriously?! There are times when I cover my eyes and pray to live another day, and times when I feel like James Bond weaving through traffic and yelling "Vafffanculo!" at passing cars. Great post.

  2. I know, I couldn't believe the light either...ridiculous. I tend to do the typical 'what the F are you doing?!' hand gesture at people. That seems to go down quite well. ;)