Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Patience is not a virtue, it is a waste of time

Patience is not a virtue, it is a waste of time. The roads here are always so hectic, everyone is in such a rush, I keep telling myself it is purely because people want to get home to their families to have quality time, (think I could be making excuses here). So here is the long awaited list of Italian self proclaimed driving rules. I have been biting my tongue for a while now since I love this place so much, unfortunately I can bite no more...
  • Park your car at any which angle and ensure if you are leaving the car in the middle of the road, (so you can go shopping, visit a friend or grab a coffee), leave your hazard lights on.
  • Ignore all stop signs and treat them as a give way bench mark. Red lights on round abouts are there purely to help pedestrians not to stop cars, no pedestrian, no need to stop.
  • The equation for your driving speed = maximum permitted speed + 25km/hr + X. (X is simply formulated by your masculinity or the type of car you must flaunt.)
  • There should be exception to the above rule when road maintenance leads to signs stating reduced maximum speeds. But there is not. Ignore such signs under all circumstances. 60 really means 135+ on a two lane 110 km/h road.
  • While driving stay on the left most lane, (if more than two) and keep your left indicator light blinking so traffic in front of you know they must move to the right to make room for you. When they do not do move, hastily flash your lights, honk and wave your fist at the mamma's boy in front of you (who is obviously a tourist). If they still do not move over, promptly maneuver to approximately 10cm from the bumper of the vehicle in front of you, remain in close proximity until the car moves over, drive past and carry on as though none of this just happened.
  • Ignore the uninterrupted line on two lane roads, you must overtake any traffic in front of you. Especially in case of queues resulting from slow traffic, it is imperative that you move to the front of the queue by overtaking the cars in the line one at the time and squeezing back in when on coming traffic and double parked cars force you to do so.
  • Hazard lights are to be used often; if there is traffic ahead, if you wish to overtake a car, when you want to double park, and if there is a good song playing on your radio.

I do not wish to make a mockery out of the Italians, just the antics of their driving. They really do drive this way. My theory at this stage is to stick to the limits, stay out of their way, and realise that they are not angry drivers, they just like to make the most of their time...

Returning from a day out of Milan on a Sunday, we hit night traffic where it took us 45 minutes to travel 5km to our home. This was the perfect opportunity for hubby to vent against the Italian drivers that had bothered him so much on one of his drives home from work in the week previous. "Always across the intersections, they never know when to stop!" he says pointing to the mangled car jam in front of us. "Why can't people just wait, instead of making there own lanes, no point in going around, you are not going to get anywhere!", with these words, a car takes the footpath next to us and then stops beside us. 2 lanes have already been made 4, and our new friend to the right was keen to make it 5! At first glance, there wasn't even anyone driving; closer examination, a tuft of grey hair, coke bottled glasses pushed against the top of the steering wheel; that's right, Nonna was taking us on the outside. "Oh no you don't Nonna!" replied soul mate cutting her off... I am still adjusting to Milan's self proclaimed driving rules...


  1. All true. ha ha. and there's more. I've also seen people:
    1. drive down the other side of the road (against oncoming traffic) to turn left at the lights. Never mind the 2 lanes of traffic (that should be 1) waiting to turn left on the right side of the road.
    2. a car do a U-turn at the traffic lights from the most right line! I've seen a truck do this too!
    3. when approaching a T junction, they turn left without stopping as if the road was straight or a curve. All people on the straight either give-way or crash!
    4. There are stop signs and there are STOP signs!
    5. I've even seen a guy wind down his window ang throw a bag of trash out the window onto the footpath!

  2. It keeps it interesting, and wide awake!!