Monday, October 11, 2010

Driving in Italy

I thought I'd post a few things about driving in Italy since talking about the Italia style of driving.

First and foremost...the signage, the road markings, and the signals are quite different in some aspects...and similar in others. And, they are more suggestion and decoration than absolute rules.

Wikipedia has a good amount of information on the signage for Italia roads... but looking at them, you probably wouldn't know which ones to pay most attention to.

Aside from the standard "Stop" and "Yield" signs (by the way, both equate to "Yield" in Italy), I'd say the most important ones to learn are the Prohibitive signs.


Yield to Oncoming Traffic

No Passing

Speed Limit 50Kph
Note: Different numbers mean different speeds.

No Parking

No Stopping or Standing


Keep Right
Note: Or Keep Left if arrow pointing the other way.

Round About
Note: You see a lot of these vs. actual intersections like we have in the U.S.
Tip: Don't wait for an opening...make your own space!

Road Markings:
The road markings are mainly suggestions only. Also, where we have white outer border lines and yellow center lines when driving on a two-way roads (or white lane lines when driving on one-way roads), they don't follow that in Italy.

When driving, typically the road markings are all white unless in a construction zone or temporarily altered road (altered from the norm). When in a construction or altered zone, the road markings are yellow.

In the image above, you can see the we are driving into a construction zone as the road markings are changing from white to yellow. Also, in the upper left corner of the picture (click to make larger if necessary) you'll see the blue arrow signs to denote where to go.

Also, when in the big cities, no one obeys the lane markers.

For parking, it's simple. First, ensure there are no "No Parking" nor "No Stopping" signs (shown previously). If none, determine the road markings.

If Yellow paint markings for parking, these are for official vehicles or loading/unloading only (loading/unloading will also be denoted with signage).

If Blue paint markings for parking, these are paid parking spots (find a meter and plug in some Euros.

If White paint markings for parking, these are free parking spots.

If no markings, just make certain you are not parking in front of an access or driveway and not blocking the thoroughfare in any way. As a reference...

Rules of the Road:
1. Make your own space. Be aggressive!

2. On the Motorway.... ALWAYS KEEP RIGHT unless passing.

3. On the Motorway....give way to faster vehicles. In the below image, the white Fiat was doing 140Kph (about 86Mph) trying to pass the red car and didn't see the BMW doing about 160Kph (100Mph).

For the most part, traffic signals are the same and are generally obeyed...but it's definitely not uncommon to see someone decide to run a red light after sitting there for a couple of seconds.

Anyways...that's driving in Italy!

Ciao for now!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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