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What you need to know when driving in Italy

July 30, 2015 | By | In Buying Guides
What you need to know when driving in Italy

Italy is famed for its long winding roads and beautiful scenery. Even if you aren’t a driving holiday fan, Italy could easily make you have a change of heart.

However, as attractive as it might be to drivers worldwide, there are some things you should be aware of before tying a scarf around your head, putting your roof down and hitting the Italian highway. Here’s our handy guide:

What you need to keep by law

When driving in Italy you must be at least 18 years old and it is your responsibility to ensure you and all of your passengers are wearing seatbelts. Additionally, it is the law in Italy to carry the following items in your car at all times:

– International Driving Permits (1926, 1949, 1968) if your car is British-registered

– A valid UK driving licence, both parts (even though the rules on counterpart driving licences have changed in the UK, it might be worthwhile keeping hold of them if you wish to drive abroad). If you’re planning to hire a car when you get there, remember you’ll need to generate a licence check code on the gov.uk website to allow the hire company to view your driving record. You can do this before you go, as the code will remain valid for a period of 21 days.

– Your passport

– Proof of insurance (third party or above)

– Your V5C Certificate

– Reflective jackets – these must also be worn if you breakdown or have an accident 

– Warning triangle 

– Headlamp beam deflectors 

There are hefty on-the-spot fines for those who are caught without any of the above items, so it’s best not to risk it.

Other considerations

In addition to the items you need to keep by law, there are also some useful nuggets of information to bear in mind while navigating the roads in Italy. Here are our top tips:

1. Perplexed about parking? No need, it’s fairly straightforward. If you are on a one-way street, parking is permitted on both sides as long as there is a gap of at least 3m in the middle of the road for other cars to pass through. If you are using a two-way street, parking is only permitted on one side, follow the example of the other cars that are there if you’re unsure which side! 

2. Save the drinks for the hotel pool. The legal limit for drink driving in Italy is lower than it is here in the UK, at 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. If you’re involved in an accident, or even if the police just suspect you of drinking or taking drugs, you can be tested at the scene.

3. Overtaking – the rules of the road. When being overtaken, stay as far to the right as possible. It is common sense but when overtaking, do not do so in any of the following situations:

– You are trying to overtake someone who is already overtaking

– At bends

– On the brow of a hill

– At intersections

– At all places where visibility is limited

4. According to Men’s Journal, the Great Dolomites Road in Italy is one of the world’s best roads to drive on. The Stelvio Pass is also one to add to the bucket list while travelling along the Amalfi Coast. Be sure to schedule a trip that way if possible!

5. If you fancy doing the trip in style, you can hire luxury cars from any of the following companies. Enjoy!

Apex Luxury Car Hire

isuperdrive supercar hire 

Europe luxury car hire

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