ROADTRIP Italy - The laws of the motorway...

Other countries, other customs - this is especially true in road traffic. In the land of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Co. there are a few unwritten laws that foreigners should know. How to drive like the locals...

tricycle in italy
The Ape is the motorised all-purpose weapon, especially in the countryside
household goods shopping to go
Household shop on wheels: plenty of choice for on the go

The four most important rules:

motorway in italy
First realisation: the motorways are green in Italy

Exclusive motorway rights for Fiat Panda and Fiat Punto

The two agile cult classics are always and everywhere (!) allowed to drive in the left lane on the motorway in Italy. It is not only forbidden to tailgate, sound the horn, tailgate or give unfriendly signals, but it would also be disrespectful.

Give the Panda or Punto its space - give it the time it needs. When the Fiat is ready, it makes room. Voluntarily, or not at all.

The invisible third track

italy motorway third lane
If you don't recognise a third track here, you're not from Italy.

People from Italy have a unique advantage over everyone else: they have the gift of visualising an invisible third lane on every road.

Wherever only two lanes are visible to the rest of the world, Italians recognise a third lane. And this is of course used quite normally in Italy. Starting to honk or brake in panic just because a third car joins the lane could seem very irritating and rude.

On the motorway at 20 km/h

driving in italy
No rush, no stress: la bella vita live...

Always "piano, piano": In Italy, this also applies to getting onto the motorway. The acceleration lane has acceleration only in its name. In fact, many Italians are primarily concerned with final acceleration here.

Drive slowly, brake gently at the end of the strip and then wait. Don't rush, don't stress.

Parking, speed, ZTT zone: All the info for your Italy road trip!

Abrupt braking in front of the motorway radar

Italians have a secret trick for bypassing the Italian radar system "Tutor". The fixed speed controls exist on almost half of the Italian motorways. These motorways are divided into sections (about 70 kilometres long). The speed at which a section is crossed is checked via control stations and automatic number plate recognition.

city street with an old car
If you see a model like this in front of you: first shift down a gear.

And now for the trick that only selected Italian drivers understand: A few metres before the radar check, you have to suddenly and abruptly brake down to a maximum of 90 km/h. As soon as you pass the checkpoint, you can accelerate again. As soon as you have crossed the checkpoint, you can accelerate to 160 km/h again.

Important note: If you want to try this "special trick" yourself - at your own risk. No liability is assumed for legal and financial consequences.


Current Stories from Italy

written by Pietro Perroni, first published on 20 August 2022

Cover photo: Photos: Kayser/La Bella Vita club

Sources: Years on Italian motorways and behind the wheel

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