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Driving in Italy – Recommendations, Tips and Tricks

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27. The presence of large electronic boards is one of the main distinguishing features of highways. These boards inform drivers about traffic jams and the places of road works.
28. According to an unspoken rule, when approaching a traffic jam, a driver should turn on the alarm lights. Other drivers will notice this and will do the same, quickly alerting other motorists who only approach the traffic jam.
29. The cost of a ride on a highway depends on the route and duration of a ride. On average, the cost of every 100 kilometers is approximately 5 - 6 euro.
30. Drivers, who expect to save on riding on toll roads, can conveniently use «SS» roads. Superways duplicate all highways of the country, but they are absolutely free. The quality of asphalt on such roads is, certainly, worse than the flawless surface of highways.
31. It should also be mentioned that a ride on such roads will take approximately two times longer than a trip on a highway. Many free roads are very narrow and winding; they have a lot of crossroads and, therefore, they require a special attention from drivers. On the other hand, they also have their own advantages. For example, many free roads are located in very beautiful places.
32. If you get lost in a large city, you should look for road signs with the “tangenziale” sign. These signs will help you to go to the main crossing of roads. Sometimes these road signs have not the “tangenziale” word, but simply the image of several concentric circles.
33. Drivers should be more attentive when traveling to southern parts of the country. Valuable items should not be left in cars. Burglars can be attracted even by an empty bag left on the front seat.
34. If there is a sudden breakdown on a highway, you can use the services of Automobile Club d'Italia. Simply dial 116 and wait for help. It should be noted that the services of the automobile club are not cheap. Tourists, who plan to spend a lot of time in the country and make many car rides, are even recommended to join the club. In this case, you can count on good discounts.

Hints on Car Hire in Italy

When choosing a car for your Italy trip, don’t forget to check and compare the franchise amount (indicated in the rental conditions) for all cars considered in your selection. The franchise may vary from 200 to 2000 euro/dollars even for cars of the same class. A thorough comparison will allow you to choose the option with the lowest franchise.

During your booking, we will offer you to take a full coverage of the franchise ('No Risk' or 'No Excess' package). If you book a car without full coverage, it is recommended to take it at the pick-up time - this will substantially reduce your financial liability in Italy for the whole rental period.

During your car pick-up in Italy, do not forget to check what to do in breakdown-, accident- or theft-cases. Most of our offers include 'Breakdown Assistance' package. Besides this, every rental office would be happy to assist you with this package.

Prior to the car return, please check your voucher for the fuel conditions. If it is indicated that a driver shall return the car with a full tank, do not forget to refuel it on the way back, this will save you from additional charges at the rental office.

If you are looking for a car hire in Italy, we advise you to check actual rental offers. Just use the orange search form at the top. We guarantee that you would not be able to find better rates anywhere else!
35. As it has been noted above, local drivers are not distinguished by a diligent compliance with the traffic regulations. They have found rather an original way to "bypass" the need to fasten seatbelts all the time. Many drivers wear an original t-shirt, the front of which is decorated with the image of a fastened belt.
36. If you plan to make a trip to the countryside and visit different cities, it is better to make this trip on a small car. Small cars are more convenient on Italian roads full of complex and winding parts, frequent turns and constrictions.
37. Foreign guests should definitely check whether their first name and last name are written in Latin in the driving license. The driving license of another type will be unacceptable in the country. While driving, regardless of the time of a day, it is recommended to turn lower beams on.
38. In addition to a driving license, drivers must always carry a vehicle registration document and car insurance. The absence of any of these documents is considered a violation and may result in a large fine.
39. In accordance with the local traffic regulations, in addition to the abovementioned documents every driver must also have two emergency stop signs and a set of additional bulbs. You also need to have a reflective vest – getting off a car without it on a highway is strictly prohibited.
40. The majority of petrol stations in the territory of cities are open from 7:30 to 19:30. During the daytime they may be closed for a break (from approximately 12:30 to 15:30). On Sundays, such petrol stations are usually closed. However, drivers will not have any difficulty finding a petrol station that works around the clock. Petrol stations along highways and other major roads usually work 24 hours a day.
41. When driving on a highway, you should keep the receipt till the end of your way. An attempt to drive on a toll road for free may result in heavy fines. The minimal fine is 300 euro.
42. Visitors often notice one quite an interesting fact – the majority of cars in the streets of Italian cities are small, mostly with the engine of 800 - 1500 cu.. Explaining such a peculiarity is really simple – it is easier to navigate through narrow and winding roads in a small car. Even a sedan will look like something “alien” on Italian roads, not to mention a jeep.
43. Two-wheeled types of transport are very popular with local residents. Virtually every local resident has a scooter or at least a bike in his garage. The two-wheeled transport also makes up a significant part of traffic on local roads, and this fact also deserves a special attention from the side of motorists.
44. Maintaining a "big" car is difficult in Italy, partly because the prices on petrol remain high in the country. Purchasing a large amount of petrol for big cars is the prerogative of wealthy car owners only. However, among local residents there are very few people who want to spend large sums to refuel their cars.
45. Audi and Volkswagen are particularly respected by locals. Mercedes and Opel branded cars are also widespread in the streets of Italian cities. Citroen and Renault are slightly less common, and it’s really rare to see a Japanese car in the streets of Italy. “Luxury” cars can often be seen in big resorts, but they are very rare in ordinary towns.
46. Local drivers can safely be called the true “masters of parking”. They can easily squeeze their compact cars between neighbors in a parking lot, even if in this case the distance between the cars will be only a few millimeters. Drivers, who value their cars and do not want to see scratches on them, should refrain from such maneuvers.
47. Scratched bumpers and small dents are fairly common for local car owners. They have stopped caring about such insignificant facts a long time ago. As a rule, the tightest parking areas are located close to supermarkets and shopping centers.
48. The majority of parking lots, equipped with ticket machines, are free from 20:00 to 8:00. Finding a free space on them in the evening is also very difficult, so tourists are recommended to book a hotel, which is equipped with a private parking. In order to leave a car for a night at a multi-level parking lot, you will need to pay around 35 - 40 euro.
49. It should be noted that local drivers turn on the turn signal only if they are really going to turn. If you just need to move from one lane to another, turning on a turn signal is not necessary. It is simply not common here.
50. Foreign drivers who travel in a car with foreign numbers are an “easy prey” for the local police. The police can forgive minor violations to local people, while foreigners should not expect such a compromise. Therefore, it is better to follow all the rules punctually.
51. When traveling on the roads of Naples, drivers should be especially careful on parts of roads equipped with traffic lights. According to an unwritten rule, local drivers divide traffic lights into mandatory and the traffic lights installed solely for the “ornamental” purpose. It’s not a rare situation when a local driver keeps driving at the red light, even without slowing down.
52. Locals who move in the streets of the city on a two-wheeled transport also often make foreign drivers very nervous. Cyclists and moped riders can easily drive very close to cars moving on a one-lane road. The distance between the vehicles in this case can be hardly an inch.
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