We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

What is it with Italian Drivers?!

Glasgow, Scotland
Level Contributor
2 posts
18 reviews
Save Topic
What is it with Italian Drivers?!

I am currently sitting in the sun on the east coast of Sardinia enjoying not using my hire car! I've travelled extensively throughout Italy and with the exception of Rome, I think all bad drivers have been banished to Sardinia! Does anyone have any suggestions why every driver wants to have a look inside the boot of my Punto even at 90kmh! I consider myself to be an experienced driver having driven in many parts of the world but Sardinia takes the prize of having the most selfish and dangerous drivers! This stunningly beautiful island has a lot of mountainous winding roads but that's obviously a challenge to the local boy racers who are generally under the age of 70! Apart from winding up the tourists, does going over 90kmh in a 30 limit achieve anything! Maybe at 52 I'm becoming a boring old f*rt but I try to enjoy keeping alive. I think after my lunch I'll go out for a walk and calm myself down...could be dangerous though..no pavements round this area!!

Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
9,309 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: What is it with Italian Drivers?!

You may be right. I would say from a personal point of view (mainland) that I think the attitude generally is a lot better than 20+ years ago with the incidences of car drivers attempting to get their car to mate with the car in front drastically reduced. Even the general speeding on the Autostrada seems to be much more law-abiding. Can not comment on Sardinia

PARIS
Level Contributor
12,812 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: What is it with Italian Drivers?!

We drove all around Sardinia last August and were pleasantly surprised by how good the general driving was.

We were shocked in Alghero when drivers even stopped at Pedestrian crossings for us!

We felt this was all miles away from the driving in Rome or Milan

Olbia
Level Contributor
601 posts
33 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: What is it with Italian Drivers?!

You haven't driven in Portugal I guess!

I agree that they drive very badly in Italy (not just Sardinia) . The north east (Olbia) and Cagliari are particularly bad. It must be all the coffee they drink that must cause them hypertension. Maybe some people shouldn't be driving at all. What about the several scandals on driving licences obtained through corruption of the dvla officials by people who simply couldn't pass the driving test?

90kmh would be too slow for any Italian, I don't know anyone who abide by the speed limit here.

Vilnius
14 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: What is it with Italian Drivers?!

Could anyone explain please why police don't give fines to all those flying drivers? Isn't there police (actually didn't see one) or fines are very small? Because everyone is breaking speed limits drasticly, where there is speed limit 50 km/h they drive at least 100 km/h and more. By the way, never ever seen before so many cases when showing oposite turn light, i. e. turning right, showing left turn and vice versa.

ada
cardiff
Level Contributor
1,189 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: What is it with Italian Drivers?!

must be a high season problem as the roads were reasonably pleasant in Oct/Nov. The worst road problems we had were in the mountains above Baunei (random cattle herds and poor visibility when the mists descend) and around Cagliari (normal city madness). I have driven in mainland Italy , mainly north, and always breathed a sigh of relief when handing back the car or crossing the border to more sedate driving.

Imperia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Italian Riviera
Level Contributor
28,192 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: What is it with Italian Drivers?!

Depends which border you are crossing. I find the driving worse in southern France around the Cote d'Azur than it is in the adjacent areas of Italy.

Sardinia, Italy
Level Contributor
1,413 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: What is it with Italian Drivers?!

A few tips and observations for driving in Sardinia:

Speed Limits. 90kmh? Like 'lilli_ol' posted above, road conditions allowing, I cannot think of anyone who drives at or below 90 on 'A' roads outside of town. You'll must likely cause yourself more problems if trying to do so! On the superstrada where the limit is 110 , you'll be very much in the minority if you stay below it. IMHO, best to go with the flow. Within reason.

Tailgating: Endemic. Local's rule of thumb is if they see a gap it must be filled :(

Nothing you can safely do about it although those with twin rear fogs can set off a 'false' braking scenario that will give you a moment's peace from a persistent offender.

Formation flying: Tailgating's twin cousin where some clown will sit at your rear quarter on dual carriageways which is in many cars mirror blindspot. Apparently very handy to avoid being pulled by carabinieri for a random road check.

Indicators - Their sporadic and incorrect use renders them meaningless. They are not used at all, mistakenly used to indicate the opposite direction, left on for 10s of kilometres, or used after the event! Good way to spot a 'foreigner' though - they will be the only one's using their kerbside indicator when pulling in after overtaking ;)

Accelerating into town ( & village): The gentle countryside potterer will transform into Sabine Schmidt the moment they enter urban/ residential areas. So be careful hitting the brakes to get down to the signalled '50' when entering urban areas, the oaf behind might be gearing up for a 'fly past'. This lunacy is especially noticeable in Cagliari & Oristano areas.

Lane crossers: Take care when overtaking on dual carriageways, particularly the ss131. Locals on your side of the road have a common tendency to drift over the line. Maybe just 1/2 metre into your lane...but an all important 1/2 metre if you're (rightly) not expecting it.

Bridge bumps: Not an issue with local drivers but local roads. Take care when crossing any form of road bridge - many have a pronounced, suspension testing, ridge running across the entrance/exit joins. May catch the unwary out in wet condition and/or on curving roads. All bridges are indicated in advance so you do get chance if necessary to adjust speed, straighten wheels etc.

Animals: The ss389 from Nuoru to Lanusei, especially between Pratobello & V. Strisaili, is where you're most likely to encounter cattle on the main roads. There are quite often wild-ish pigs on the road between Ussassai, Perdasdefogu & Escalapano* also around the Montevecchio area on the Costa Verde.

Black Spots: The first few kilometres of the Sassari-Olbia road ( Ploaghe end) and the Iglesisas end of Iglesias-Cagliari superstrada are both renowned fatal accident hotspots. Bear in mind a very high percentage of overall accidents occur in the early hours of Saturday & Sunday mornings - 18-30s on their way home from out of town discos.

Speed Cameras: Mobile, roadside units are commonly seen around the Sassari tunnels, on the sweeping bends near Monastir as you descend into Cagliari and also in the Sanluri/Villagreca patch of the 131 where there are some fixed cameras too notably at left turning junctions. There are fixed cameras on the road to Pula; some Milanese motorcyclists were in the news this week being clocked at 200kmh on that road.. amongst other things, their bikes were immediately impounded for 3 months. 'AutoVelox' is the magic word on roadsigns.

Documents: You must have your documents - id, driving license, insurance, ownership etc on you at all times . There isn't a seven day producer notice like in the UK. If you are caught without them at the reasonably frequent random roadside checks you will be fined on the spot; car impounded if you don't have car ownership or insurance docs. Likewise make sure all your lights are fully functional; they fail far more frequently due to the requirement of using them at all times outside of town - fines await those unlit or poorly lit.

*For those heading south down the eastern side towards Costa Rei/ Villasimius, this is a great off the beaten track alternative to the rather mundane stretch between Arbatax and Muravera. Slower but far more scenic.

Edited: 11 June 2011, 22:52
Stockholm, Sweden
6 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: What is it with Italian Drivers?!

Oh My God. Now you're really making me nervous. I decided to rent a car after reading that 1) you need it, 2) The trafic in Sardinia is not as bad as in other places in Italy.

I have rented the car for a week, picking it up in Cagliari (central) and leaving it at Olbia. Now I'm a bit nervous if I will get out of Cagliari. Maybe I should try to change the reservation to the airport instead, if possible? Will the trafic be calmer, if I go during the siesta?

I'm a law-abiding Sweden, and here EVERYONE follows the trafic rules, and expects that everyone else is doing it.

Sardinia, Italy
Level Contributor
1,413 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: What is it with Italian Drivers?!

vanavordning,

No need for nervousness just extra caution; as you need when driving in any other foreign country! I find driving in Switzerland for example, which on a number of fronts is the complete opposite to Sardinia - traffic density, law adherence, road conditions & quality - just as needing in said caution.

p.s. re: your points - 1. yes a car is a massive help when visiting Sardinia; more so given the minimal public transport infrastructure 2. as mentioned, the traffic in Sardinia is very very light compared to almost anywhere in Western Europe; as you would expect given the population density.

If I was flying into Cagliari, staying initially in Cagliari before touring the island, I too would pick the car up in town rather than the airport. Getting out of Cagliari is relatively easy - for the first time visitor it is driving to and especially finding a parking spot in a specific area in town that is trickier.

As you say, the siesta is a lot quieter however Cagliari is a small regional city with a dual carriageway system that almost reaches the centre and commuting traffic density* really doesn't approach the levels found in major European cities. I find it most frenetic around the time of the lunchtime exodus.;)

* of course, commuting traffic is different from holiday traffic going to the SW (Pula) & SE(Villasimius) corners but being Olbia bound that won't affect you.

Edited: 13 June 2011, 08:08
ada
cardiff
Level Contributor
1,189 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: What is it with Italian Drivers?!

loved the tips, dancing brave! Agree with all but enjoyed the driving - the only time got stressed was trying to find a self service car cleaning facility near Cagliari airport before taking car back (ended up with car valet men kindly vacuuming for free at the last petrol station on Elmas road before it hits the SS130 !) - are there vacuum cleaners/automatic car washes like UK in this area or are they all 'valet' ? One of the problems with car hire in the parts of Italy I have driven in is the high insurance excess (which makes you oversensitive!), which didnt seem to be an issue with car hire in Sardinia.

The funniest thing was a flock of sheep being shepherded along the main 'mountain' SS125 road to Baunei by an ancient fiat.