(C) 2014 Matt Jarvis. d vulputate
Having travelled widely in Europe and beyond, a recent holiday in Italy reminded me what a different experience it can be to driving elsewhere in the Western world!
It’s not that the average Italian is a bad driver, but they do get a bit passionate behind the wheel, with tailgating and speeding almost something of a national pastime!
Arriving at Rome airport, negotiating the hire desk and finding your way out onto the motorway can be frustrating, nerve wracking and downright expensive. We found a few simple tips can make the whole experience a little less fraught and a more relaxing introduction to the holiday.
The good news is things are improving, with more legislation and heavy fines helping to temper the excess of some drivers.
Driving tuition and testing has also had a positive effect, with many younger drivers now having a healthier outlook on their long term survival.
The condition of some of the roads is not great, with pot holes and subsidence common place once you get off the toll roads. The older construction of many long terms routes also manifests itself with narrow lanes, short slip roads and very little street lighting.
Speed limits are complicated and not always obvious, so care needs to be taken to avoid a nasty surprise arriving in the post.
Parking is still at a premium in every city in Italy, with on-street parking now more controlled, but little more space created. Finding out of town Park and Ride sites is a good idea, as is knowing what colour spaces you are allowed to park in and how much you might pay.
Defensive driving techniques can help you to stay safe wherever you drive, so it is worth learning a few tips to improve your view of the road and to anticipate what other drivers might be about to do.
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