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Drive in Rome?

You must be CRAZY !!


In Italy, a motor accident could happen anytime, anywhere and there would be nothing you could do about it, because people are disgustingly dangerous drivers here. You are fifty times more
likely to die on the roads in Rome than
you are in London or Los Angeles.

As far as getting around Rome goes,
driving is really the most boring method
for the tourist anyway, as the city's
roads are hopelessly congested and poorly surfaced, so you'll spend a lot of time in traffic jams, and more time trying to avoid hitting anything than looking out the window at the sights.


As I write, there’s three teenagers in a car in the street outside, teaching each other to drive. There’s no L plates (P plates here, indicating a learner driver) and I doubt if any of them are even provisionally licensed. The police do
nothing about such things. Fourteen year-olds can go out on mopeds without a helmet, and take a pillion passenger. They die like flies.
It’s weird. It’s such a contradiction to the culture which places so much adoration on its children, yet they care nothing for their safety.

Okay, now get this - It's 9.15 pm on Saturday November 6th 1999. On the Via Aventino in central Rome I was driving along and suddenly see the aftermath of a motor accident - I draw closer and see that a police car is involved. I get a little closer before I can see the other car the police car collided with. Guess what? It's another police car! Both cars are write-offs, their front ends are crushed in - A head-on collision between two police cars on a busy city street - Getting the idea about Roman drivers now? if that's how the police drive, what can you expect from the civilians?

Baby/child safety-seats in cars are a rare sight. Babies are instead bounced on mummy’s knee in the front seat while daddy weaves in and out down the ring-road at eighty miles an hour.
The other day I saw a man riding a scooter along a fast main road with a small child sitting behind him, and an even smaller tot (perhaps a two-year-old) standing on the 'floor' of the scooter in front of him, holding the handlebars. None were wearing crash-helmets!


On the motorways (freeways) people cut in on you from the inside, or even from the hard shoulder, overtake you with inches to spare, thus nearly forcing you off the side of the road or into the
armco. A lot of people die this way.
Sooner or later they will kill me or my children or other innocents, with their stupid, dangerous, blindly-uncaring driving tactics. I cannot understand why people should drive like this!
It’s insane! And grossly antisocial. And the police do nothing by way of prosecution or prevention.


The Great British T-Junction as we know it is almost non-existent here - all the junctions are ‘merges’, (ramps) but the length of the run-in is never enough. Sometimes it’s a sort of three-way merge. I am afraid to go out on the dual carriageway or the GRA (Rome's M25
or beltway), as I cannot see how to avoid colliding with someone at the merges can be achieved by any other way than pure luck.
I’ve thought and thought how it can be done safely, but cannot find an answer. At least once a week I see the aftermath of a shunt on one of these merges, and the faster roads out of town are dotted
with bunches of flowers every couple
of miles as tributes marking where
people have died. It’s weird. They remove their brains and get into their cars.

There are numerous local B-road junctions where not a single white line is painted on the road, or Give Way (Yield) sign erected, so people just whizz into it and hope for the best. They never give way.
And nobody signals. And nobody ever thanks you for moving over and waiting for them if the road is narrow. People shoot out from sideroads in front of you as if the likelihood of another car approaching on the main road was out of the question. It's weird!


If you assume the correct road-positioning
at a junction, and are waiting patiently
for a gap in the on-coming traffic, people just whizz past you on the inside because they think you’ve
broken down or something - Thus, even if you do the right thing, you are in danger.
I feel like the victim of some torturing psychopathic bully - If I resist the despot I'll be punched, if I succumb to his regime, he'll punch me anyway. It's a No Win situation.

Imagine turning right (left in America)
into a side-road, and waiting to give
way to traffic coming towards you
before you can make the turn. Now imagine that while you’re waiting, a stream of five or six cars come whistling past your right-ear, driving up the kerb to get into the side road ahead of you. That’s what they do here.


I don’t understand how they can gamble with their lives like this. It may be some ingrained fatalism of nominally devout (is there such a thing as nominally devout?) Roman Catholicism - ‘Que sera sera’, 'What will be will be' - including motor accidents! I just don't get it.

Every single car exhibits a prang of some description, as collisions great and small are everyday occurrences, taken for granted as just part of life's rich tapestry here.
All in all it’s an expensive place to drive,
the highest cost being human life.
Goodness knows how the insurance works.


The police just stand there posing with their leather jackets, guns and sunglasses, pretending that they’re American ‘cops’ and randomly pulling in people for no good reason at all, just to make a show of it.
There are no rules and the police enforce none, except when it suits them, such as when some kid on his moped shot out and literally rode underneath a friend of mine's
car recently - the traffic warden instantly
wrote my friend an on-the-spot fine of fifty quid! Probably because he knew the local lads would have beaten him up if he’d only fined the kid. It’s appalling.




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