There was a very smart article in what is arguably the best journal for all things Italian and most things Rome to be found in print or online. I'm talking about The Roman Forum, of course. The brainchild of Company, WalueEurope (don't ask -- well, I'll go ahead and just tell you...While 'W' in America means former President, George W. Bush, 'W' in Italy is often called 'V', pronounced 'Vu'), its Director is Chiara Di Pietro, with Editor-in-Chief, Brit, Anthony Smith. And kudos go out to Art Designer, Eugenio Catalano. This trifecta, giving us so much on things Roman, I wholly expect them to be wearing laurel wreaths when I happen to run into one or the other around town.
Anyway, in the September issue, you'll find the article about Driving in Italy, penned by Robert Shipley, clearly a man after my own heart (although I was saddened to learn upon reading it, he's married).
the notorious killer panda
He goes on to provide a perfect listing of things to watch out for if you're driving on Italian highways. Now, it's a 2 part article, so, I'm afraid to preempt his listing, but, I'd like to add a few more caveats:
- It is not my experience (and I used to drive over 5000km / month) that people pass on the right, except in city centers. But on those 3-lane highways, you will find absolutely no motorist worth his salt (and I stress his), in the far-right lane, dedicated to slow vehicles. Truckers and slow pokes will simply not take a blow to their masculinity and be caught ever in the slow lane, forcing all other cars going over 80km/hr to pass in the left lane, risking to be back-ended by the approaching car coming in at 160, before being able to make their way to the middle lane.
- As I mentioned in a previous post, those white pandas nowadays are as rare as the real things (and they're undeniably just as cute); They've been upgraded to SUVs, pulling all the same maneuvers, but now, seriously posing a life-threatening risk.
Of course, no rules apply to motorinos. Foreign visitors are left mouth-gaping the way they drive down the center lane, weave in and out, pass all over the place, and then jump the gun. I'm used to it, but utterly shocked the death rate for them is not infinitely greater.
As for Shipley's query about driving down the middle lane? That's easy to figure out. Staking out the middle means you can take your pick literally, down the road...