An Italian Driving Lesson
In journalism, it’s called the Silly Season.
Usually, all the politicians have gone away for their lengthy summer break and we all get a breather from their silliness.
But not this year with Mrs Green (the Mayor of Birmingham’s wife) slugging it our with Mr Murthy (the husband of the billionairess).
And I’m sooooo bored, as my granddaughter would say.
So, to bring a bit of silliness for those of you who are thinking of holidaying in Italy, here is short guide to driving in that beautiful country.
Mobile Phones. Although using a mobile while driving is not yet compulsory, it is only a matter of time before it is made so. Smoking a cigarette and gesticulating out the window at the same time is practised by the most skilled drivers.
Traffic lights. You will immediately be familiar with these…but not their meaning. Red means that you have about ten seconds to get through. Amber means accelerate rapidly, and if necessary, overtaking any vehicles that are slowing. And Green: proceed with caution in case there is someone going through a red light.
Roundabouts. Fortune favours the brave. Sticking your nose in is essential otherwise you’ll be stuck for hours. The principle the Italians work on is that everyone has brakes so they can use them.
The horn. Italians wouldn’t dare bring their car for a road test (MoT), if the hooter wasn’t working. It’s important to know the code. One beep means ‘shake your ass’; two short beeps means ‘I’m getting really pee-ed off’ and a long continuous beep is used in traffic jams especially if there are caused by a policeman.
Parking. Anywhere and everywhere. Many streets have useful double lines to help align your car perfectly in parallel to the pavement. But watch out, they now have traffic wardens. You will recognise them because they have immaculate uniforms. The Italians have real style.
Le donne. Women are among the nastiest drivers of all. If you are a man driving a small car, they give you shriveling look that says: ‘is that the best you can do?’ Rent the biggest car you can.
Driving test. The Italian driving test is among the most difficult in the world with a massive written test as well as a grueling practical. Having been through this, Italians immediately forget everything they have learned (don’t we all after exams?) and drive like maniacs.
Buona vacanza e buon viaggio