Driving in Italy is unlike driving anywhere else in the world. You’ll have to get used to driving on narrow streets and highways, dealing with traffic lights, and many other factors that come into play when going to an unfamiliar country.
However, even though there are some challenges involved with driving here, most people find it relatively easy to navigate their way around the country.
Drivers in Italy tend to be aggressive
One of the things you can expect to find different about driving in Italy is that drivers tend to be more aggressive than those in the United States.
While you may be used to stopping at every stop sign and traffic light, this isn’t always necessary in Italy.
Drivers are known for speeding, passing without signaling, and cutting off other vehicles.
Suppose you’re driving in your van on a highway or freeway in Italy. In that case, it’s important to remember that speed limits aren’t strictly enforced because there aren’t as many speed cameras as there are in America.
However, road safety patrols are increasing, so it’s best not to push your luck behind the wheel!
Here are some additional tips for driving safely on Italian roads:
- Expect the unexpected when driving on side streets of cities—there could be pedestrians crossing at any time!
- Watch out for cars parked along curbsides; they may open their doors unexpectedly if someone gets too close behind them (this is called “parking assist” by Italians).
- Keep an eye out for bicycles speeding along sidewalks—they often come from nowhere. They can cause severe damage if hit directly alongside vehicles traveling at high speeds through urban areas like Rome or Milan.
Traffic flow tends to increase significantly during peak hours due to rush hour traffic jams caused by construction work occurring throughout these two major cities.
The speed limits and safety patrols
The speed limits are not strictly enforced, although road safety patrols are increasing.
In urban areas, the speed limit is 50 km/h (30 mph), and in many rural areas, it’s 60 km/h (37 mph).
Highways have a higher limit of 70 to 80 km/h (43-50 mph). On most autostradas, the maximum speed is 110-120 km/h (70-75 mph).
You should also be aware that there are no mandatory safety checks for cars before they can be sold or registered for use on Italian roads.
Driving on the highways
Driving on the highways is relatively safe and well maintained, but do expect the unexpected when driving on city side streets.
Italy’s roads will feel slightly different if you’re used to driving on highways in the United States.
They’re generally safer and better maintained than side streets, but do expect the unexpected when driving on side streets in cities.
- The main difference between US highways and Italian highways is that there are no shoulders or guard rails for most of them.
- If you have an accident on one of these roads, it will be pretty tricky (and possibly impossible) for others to help you since they’ll need to park their cars.
The highways tolls are a little cheaper on weekends
You will be able to pay the tolls with a credit card. But you should also be aware that sometimes the tolls are not cheaper on weekends, so it’s good to check!
Sometimes they are more expensive for trucks, sometimes cheaper for motorcycles (but not always), and sometimes more costly for cars, but other times less expensive.
In any case, electric cars get a discount that can make up for the expense of having an electric car in Italy.
The toll booth
If you’re planning to drive through Italy, you must know about the toll booths.
The truth is that entering through a toll booth usually costs you less than paying by credit card or cash.
Credit cards and cash are accepted at toll booths, but buying your ticket with a credit card is preferred over paying with cash because:
- Credit cards are more convenient than cash (you don’t have to worry about carrying around change)
- Credit cards are safer than cash (you don’t have to worry about losing money)
- Credit cards are more secure than cash (it’s harder for someone else to steal them while they’re in your wallet).
Take your passport with you at all times when driving
If you’re planning on driving in Italy, it is important to bring your passport with you. You will need it to enter the country and then again when leaving.
If you lose your passport while on vacation, having a copy of it on your phone can be helpful for situations like this.
So, be prepared to take your passport with you when packing your bag. Taking a picture of it and having it on your phone is helpful.
Be prepared for GPS failures or non-functioning GPS systems
If you’re planning on driving in Italy, it’s important to be prepared for potential problems with your GPS.
GPS failures are common, and even if the system works, it may not give accurate directions.
The roads often change names or numbers without notice, so even if your device says one thing and what’s on the sign says another, go with what is written on the sign!
Furthermore, many places in Italy do not have cellular service available (which means no data coverage), which means that your GPS navigation may not work!
Suppose you have access to the internet while traveling in Italy and want to use an app for driving directions instead of paper maps or road signs.
In that case, we recommend using Waze – this free app will alert drivers about traffic jams up ahead so they can avoid them altogether.
Parking in cities can be difficult
Parking in cities can be difficult, but there are usually parking areas outside the city if you don’t find a spot right away. These parking areas are typically marked, free, guarded, and safe.
Adapt quickly to the highway system and driving conditions when driving in Italy
You might be surprised by some things about driving in Italy. People are generally friendly and will not honk or flash their lights at you if you make a mistake, but they may slow down to see how long it takes for you to realize what happened.
Driving is relatively safe and with low accident rates.
Driving in Italy can be a lot of fun. The country is full of exciting places to visit, and it’s a great way to get around.
However, there are some things to be aware of when you’re driving in Italy.
First of all, drivers here tend to be more aggressive than Americans are used to. This means that it’s important for everyone on the road (including pedestrians) to follow the rules and keep an eye out for other drivers’ mistakes or impatience, so no one gets hurt!
Second – because the speed limits aren’t strictly enforced by law enforcement officers who patrol roads regularly (although there have been increased efforts lately), it’s up to each driver individually whether or not they decide to follow them anyway.
We hope you enjoyed this article. Check out our other traveling tips!