09 October 2007

That's okay...I have my flashers on

Two Italian laws of driving

There are two things about driving in Italy that are totally acceptable here that stand out to me: First is that you can park any where you would like as long as you have your flashers on. Want to double park and have a coffee – use those flashers. Want to park sideways with the rear of your car sticking in the traffic lane – use those flashers. Need to park in a no parking zone to go say “hi” to a friend – use those flashers.

All of these double parked cars have on their flashers

The other driving technique is you can go the wrong way on a one-way street as long as you back up, with or without your flashers on. The common way to go down a street that is one-way, other than the way you want to go, is to back up. In the US you would have two consequences for doing this, both are negative, a traffic ticket and/or an accident.

Here in Italy these are just common and expected driving practices.


Anonymous said...

But these driving quirks fly in the face of two other Italian issues; the need to be part of, and to conform to, a "group" and the rigorous Italian driving examination. I think the first is explained by the fact that the "group" think the mentality is limited to their identifiable group, which the general public, i.e. other drivers, is not and that the driving exam is perceived to be just another state irritation.
I was in Giulianova this evening, after reading your blog, and noticed two drivers in front of me angle park in places where they could have easily parallel parked. Normally I wouldn't even give it a second thought but I had been sensitized by your blog and recalled how I felt as an American.
I don't often experience your backing up one way streets very often. I experience drivers coming directly at me and being annoyed that I am driving the right direction. I think people do it because it is so inconvenient to follow the maze of one ways that exist in so many cities. Note that Alba Adriatica just reversed many of its one ways for no explainable reason.
When none of this gets your attention, you will have begun to be an Italian.

Gil said...

I've seen cars parked like this in the Bronx, NY. Sometimes they triple park for a quick stop to buy bread, a paper, etc.

Bryan said...

I have always noticed things that seem odd to me, there are many of these things Americans do in the US. I hope I never stop noticing things like this.
I never think things Italians do are better or worse...just different.