Italy - France - USA

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Italy - France - USA

Postby julian » Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:40 pm

hi everybody,

it's been a long time since I've been to this place. Since I'm in my last year at school, we had a one week-trip to Rome about 4 weeks ago. Good times, really...also a very interesting city. But when it comes to driving, this place is pure hell.
Most of you have seen those crazy videos of traffic in highly populated Asian cities (forgot where) where they don't have any traffic lights and surprisingly nobody gets killed.
Now Rome is not that bad...but almost. It really reminded me of that. I've been to Italy a lot and I know the Italians as...well...pretty reckless drivers. At least most of them. But Rome is even worse. Imagine a wide street, Rush hour traffic, no lane markings (!), 3 Million people, 2 million cars :!:
The speed limit normally is not enforced...
Every time we rode a bus, I was glad to be alive...really.
If you're ever down there, avoid having to drive for yourself at all costs.
Every car has scratches and marks from other cars, it's insane :shock:
I personally witnessed a woman with some early 90's Fiat compact trashing a brand new Tiburon while trying to parallel park in a spot that was waaaay to small. (It's all over the internet, just do a search on parallel parking and you get tons of videos of drivers in Italy bumping other cars lol)
Seems like these incidents aren't considered an accident in Italy.
I spoke to some locals about the issue, and I could not believe what they told me.
They actually park their cars in NEUTRAL, NO HANDBRAKE, allowing other people to PUSH their car away! This allows them to park more cars since they can get out of small spaces.
Glad I didn't have to drive there myself.

But I did get the chance to drive in France and the United States this year.
France is ok, a lot like Germany although people don't seem to care about their cars (bumping somebody else does not seem to be an issue there as well) and they're normally covered in tree sap, bugs, bird poo...etc...
And they announce every speed trap using very huge signs :D
Had a lot of fun there, especially driving up a mountain to some old castle and that street consisted of at least 20 circles going upwards. Very dangerous, too...especially in winter this road requires a veteran driver...

In the US, I learned that a stop sign can also be a 4 way stop sign...and there's absolutely no such thing here in Europe.
Europeans would kill each other at those intersections, at least Germans...nobody here can imagine an intersection where you actually get the right of way depending on when you arrived at the intersection.
Other than the at first, confusing stop signs, I really enjoyed driving on an open highway having an incredible amount of land in view. And it's "quiet", people just cruise along. In Germany driving on the Autobahn is a lot more demanding I think, considering the higher speeds and everything.
Well driving for 6 hours in the US was a real change of pace and I liked it...and after 3 hours I finally got used to the "The car's in control, not me" feeling of an automatic

Hope it's not too don't have to read it all. Just thought I might share this with the community.
Next thing in my life will be the Army unless it turns out that I'm not physically fit enough. (We're pretty much the only western civilization that still has a draft)
And it's half past four and I'm shifting gear...

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Postby padauk_dust » Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:44 pm

Nice. Very interesting. Thanks for posting about it.

Yes, when I was in Italy (Milano) for a couple of weeks there were people parking on the sidewalks (like, not with a wheel or two over the curb, but they pull up next to someone parked on the street, on the sidewalk!), driving crazy fast, bumping other cars to get into parking spots etc. Pretty fun to drive there, despite all of that.
When you are on a bus that's traveling on small tiny streets downtown with people and cars just centimeters away from the sides of the bus... seeing all of it go by without one thing going wrong... it's kind of a weird feeling...

I'll look forward to hearing about more of your driving in various places!
'88 Accord DX
'96 VFR750

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Postby NonChalant » Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:06 pm

Great writeup. Was fun to read about your view of our all-way stop signs :P

Where in the US did you drive exactly? state/city?

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Postby julian » Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:23 am

We went from Kentucky all the way up to Virginia (close to DC), drove half of that, I think I took over the wheel right before entering West Virginia.
Now those stop signs are a great thing, I guess. I mean, it can be a nuisance, but it's a way to "defuse" dangerous intersections. Roundabouts/Rotaries would also be a possibility, but probably a lot more expensive than just putting up 4 signs ;)
And it's half past four and I'm shifting gear...

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Postby watkins » Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:21 am

And since most Americans unfortunately dont have any experience with rotaries, things could get ugly fast. It would be funny to watch, but I wouldnt like joining them.

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