Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Rules of the Road

Did I tell you that I'm traveling to Italy over spring break? I can't remember if I have mentioned it yet. If not, I am. After spending a few days in Rome, we are renting a car and driving through Tuscany to Siena and Florence, then over to west to visit Cinque Terre and Genoa, and finishing up by going east and ending up in Venice for a few days before flying home. We've never driven in a foreign country before (thank goodness they drive on the same side of the rode as we do) so I've been reading up about it in the travel books and online. On one of the websites, a "helpful hint" struck me as funny. "Unlike in America, the left lane in Italy is used as the passing lane. Expect honks, light flashes, and obscene gestures if you choose to travel in the left lane."

Hmm, did the laws on America change when I wasn't looking? I remember from Driver's Ed in high school that the left lane is the passing lane, however every time I am on the freeway I am unable to use the passing lane to pass as is is being used by another driver who has decided to drive right alongside the car in the 2nd lane. Maybe the laws did change, so I checked out the California DMV website and downloaded that little paper booklet with all the driving rules in it. Low and behold, the law is as I remember it...
"If you choose to drive slower than other traffic, do not drive in the 'No. 1 Lane'. Always move to the right when another driver is behind you and wishes to drive faster."
I find it funny that even though it is a law, at least in California, it is a law that is broken SO often that it warrants a mention on a website about driving in another country.

Driving slow in the fast lane is probably one of my biggest pet peeves (I do have many) and I think the thing about it that makes me the most crazy is that so many people do it on purpose. I can't tell you how many times I have been driving in the fast lane (passing other cars) and have watched a driver drive onto the freeway, move his or her way over three or four lanes of traffic into the fast lane (usually in front of me), and then travel no quicker than the cars in the other lanes.

From my reading, the "get the heck outta my way" road rule seems to be strictly enforced in Italy. I like that sound of that and may just have to stay there.


  1. Lucky girl! I love Italy! Have a blast and take bunches of pictures.

    You are so right about the drivers who insist on driving in the left lane...probably just to make sure no one goes faster than they are supposed to.

    Years ago I drove a motorhome cross country, taking a northern route east, and a southern route back out west. MOST ALL STATES obey the left lane is for passing rule. Seriously, it was so nice. I remember when we reached AZ on the return trip and noticed the left lane hogs again...yep, we knew we were getting close to home.

  2. Well, well, well.... this sounds VERY nice! I'm jealous!

  3. OOHHH! I've always wanted to go there! Have a fabulous time and take lots of pictures!

  4. WoW! A world traveler! Weren't you in Hawaii at Xmas? How very cool!

    I want to know if they showed any of the obsecene hand gestures? I do believe they consist of more than the finger!

  5. Ooooh!! Italy! How fun! I was there a billion years ago, but I didn't get to see as much as you have planned. Fun, fun, fun!!

  6. Okay. I'll get back to you about this when you return.

    And...I think you should make this your life's mission--stop these slow drivers in the fast lane! Right after you talk to the Halloween people to get it changed to the last Friday in October, instead of on the 31st no matter what day it is.

  7. I hope you come back : ). Well, actually, I guess you could stay because you could keep blogging no matter where you live and that's all that matters! The almighty blog. I hope you have a wonderful time. I have never been there. Can't wait to see your pictures!