The SkywalkerSwartz Blog

Monday, June 15, 2009

La Dolce Via: How to Drive in Italy

Three major tips for understanding Italian driving. For even more excitement, follow my example and learn to drive stick at the same time!

1) CARS ARE BIG SCOOTERS - Italians can't drive until age 18...but they can drive scooters as young as 14. When they grow up, they treat their cars like big scooters: weaving around wildly.

2) PRAGMATISM, NOT RULES - Americans follow rules. They stay in their lanes and stop at stop signs/lights. The Italians will stay in their lanes--but not if there's extra room. They will stop at traffic signals--if there is someone to stop for. Americans expect cars to come to a complete stop for pedestrians, but Italians just weave around them (remember rule 1: Cars are just big scooters). It's actually much more efficient.

3) DIFFERENT SIGNALS - Take a look at this handy chart:
SignalMeaning in USAlternate Meaning in Italy
leaving your left turn signal on in the left lane"I am old and forgot to turn off my signal""I want to pass you" or "I will move over when I get a chance."
hazard lights"I am pulled over and don't want you to hit me.""sudden stop/slowdown ahead."
honking"F--- you!" or "Get outta' my way!""Hey, just so you know, I'm here" or "I'm not going to let you in."

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