Driving in Italy....Help!!

08/01/2009 - 04:52

Hi, Having just got back from Calabria and Im driving as normal here in Bournemouth,why do I have such a worry on Italian roads?? Im normaly a good and confident passenger & driver in UK but in Italy im a nervous wreck!! I need to drive in Italy & want to but we have two narrow bridges that we have to cross & its these in particular that worry me!!  When my other half drives im closing my eyes or holding on to the door!! Its not his driving but other people!! They seem to be so close and always on our boot! Any suggestions??



We have found that you have to be as assertive as the Italian drivers! We have been driving in Naples in the past and at a junction had people come up on both sides of us and try to get out of the junction at the same time! We do still find the bits that jut out on the sides of the road a bit un-nerving especially when something is coming the other way. We have also found that we do sometimes get stared at if we are both in the car and there is a woman driving. It seems normal for the man to drive in those circumstances. It doesn't stop us though. Unfortunately a lot of the Italian women drivers do not seem very confident and it doesn't do the rest of us much of a favour!We have been going to our holiday home in Campania for the last three years and we have found that as long as we put on our Italian driving head as soon as we arrive at Napoli airport we are as prepared as we can be. You just have to be prepared for the different style of driving and let nothing surprise you.We have also found that since driving in Italy we drive slightly differently back here and don't think twice about squeezing in that gap that looks impossible to get in.We wish you luck on your next trip! 

 With nearly twice as many fatalities on Italian roads as opposed to UK, its quite rational to feel more nervous. things are definitely improving, but still a long way to go. Console yourself that its significantly safer than others, Greece and Portugal to name two shockers! 

I agree with Santamarinese, you really do have to think differently about the way you drive and drive the same way the Italians do. When I was first driving in Italy I was driving exactly the same way as I do in England, abiding by speed limits and road laws and waiting for a good gap in the road before turning into a junction etc.,  Now I do what they do.  I have learned that when going up a viaduct hundreds of feet in the air where there are double lines in the middle of the road, loads of bends, that the signs of a red car on the left of the white car means that if you have a red car you can overtake a white (or silver) car on the double lines and on the hair pin bends!!!!  In fact that seems to apply to any colour car, lorry or even police car, especially in the tunnels!!!!! I now find driving in England a little frustrating at times and as said above, I also nip in here and there where before I was more cautious (in the UK). Best of luck.  You will soon get the hang of it.Maralyn

I find the lack of stop signs frightening.  I managed to drive the 180 km or so from our village near the Adriatic to Rome, even around the Rome outerbelt,without too many problems, but it's surely just plain courtesy that keeps Italian drivers from being killed in huge numbers!