12 February 2007

Relaxing Sunday Drive/Neapolitan driving course

I went out driving yesterday morning - nice and early before the traffic started. As a background I should tell you that I got my driving license in Naples a couple of years ago. Whenever I say that I make myself laugh: I GOT MY DRIVING LICENSE IN NAPLES!! You'll understand what I mean only if you've seen the driving here. Lawless is a good word to describe it at times. It was one of the most surreal things I've ever done here. Me and fifteen teenagers doing scuola guida. I felt quite the old lady.

Anyway, since I got my license I've driven very little. I've decided now though that I need to get practicing as there are times when it would be so useful just to be able to take the car and go out myself instead of having to be accompanied. So, yesterday morning we went out for a giro/drive, me in the driving seat. My OH came along as I don't feel ready to brave the Neapolitan traffic alone yet - and he guards the hand brake just in case.

I'm now learning the things which weren't fully covered in scuola guida such as:

1. Be always prepared to be overtaken by any vehicle type on both the left and right - sometimes simultaneously both on the left and right, and if you're lucky in front and behind you'll be passed too.

2. Be always prepared for pedestrians to step out at any moment.


3. Ignore the car beeping behind you, it's normal for all drivers to be very impatient and constantly beeping. I find this one difficult to get my head around so far. If they go into the back of you they'll surely be blamed and not you I'm told. So keep your distance and forget the frantic beeping from all sides. You'll see that few Neapolitans keep their distance, but you must not let that bother you. It sounds a bit of a contradiction, but Neapolitans do drive in a defensive style so they will try to avoid other drivers - I'm hoping this will help me.

4. When you stop at the traffic lights (yes, I do stop at red as I am still learning really and I'm not that napoletana) and the man (usually a man) wants to clean your windscreen, the way to avoid him is to stop about 5-6 metres behind the car in front. This way when the man approaches your car you drive forward so he can't catch you. If he doubles as a tissue seller be careful that he hasn't left a pack of tissues on you car whilst pulling away - I'd feel bad taking them without paying. Make sure also that your windows are closed when you spot a tissue seller as you could find yourself with merchandise which you didn't ask for.


5. In case of any accidents wave hands around a little (but not too much or that could start an argument) then say "Pigliat a' targ e vattenn!!" - roughly translated as "Note my number plate and be on your way" Hopefully I will never need to use this one.


6. Parking: Neapolitans will park anywhere they can fit into - or nearly fit into. I've seen more vigilie about lately, but a good Neapolitan knows the vigil's habits. For example, if it's raining they won't be out (probably they'll be in the bar), if it's Sunday lunch time they won't be around either.

Here's one motorist spotted yesterday. Non ho parole.

11 comments:

Shirley said...

This post made me laugh.
My first time driving in Italy was in Napoli,3 months after I arrived,I was absolutely terrified.I reckon if you can drive in Napoli you can drive anywhere!My husband always tells me to never look the other drivers in the eye, just keep going, they will always stop!So far it has worked.

sognatrice said...

Oh my goodness! That picture is horrible!!!!

Delina said...

Shirley, that's another great tip. I think that as I progress and learn more about driving here I'll expand my Neapolitan highway code... So much to learn :D

Max said...

Oh quella foto! Purtroppo è il simbolo di quello che si vede a Napoli... a volte si vedono anche intere famiglie su una vespa Madre, Padre e figli ovviamente senza casco :D

Sulla tecnica contro le persone che vogliono "per forza" pulirti il vetro"... POSSO SOLO ESSERE D'ACCORDO CON TE!!! Grande tecnica!!! :DDDDD

Max said...

...e sarei curioso di sapere come si comportano in altre città...

Jeff Gromen said...

I had the pleasure of driving in Naples on whatI thought was a simple idea of picking some friends up at the train station. It looked simple enough on the map. Somehow I ended up all over Naples and I later found out a few roads were closed for a "Manifestazione".
Also I've been meaning to ask how the subway is going. I thought Naples was building a subway when I was there.
Is that true? Is there an end in sight?


Jeffo

Max said...

Ciao Jeff... si l'hanno finita... ma quanti anni fa sei stato a Napoli? Da quello che ricordo, ora la metropolitana funziona "abbastanza" bene nel senso che riesce a collegare quasi tutta la città...

Delina said...

There are two subway lines, an older one and a new one which is still being extended. There were rumours of the metro reaching out to the airport, but it's anyone's guess if/when that will happen.

Becslifeonline said...

So it's not just a rumour that the drivers in Italy are a little bit crazy then? Ha ha.

Tracie B. said...

i would agree with sognatrice if i didn't see it every day.

you must also always be prepared for someone to pass yo on the left even when you have your left turning signal on...HHHAAAAAAAAAH

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Great post, sorry I'm just now getting around to it. Am I evil for laughing out loud at the photo? It's true, it is horrible, but it is just so odd I had to laugh. I couldn't believe it. I still haven't seen anything like that in Rome, although I do get angry when I see dogs on the floorboard of the scooter. Naples is the only place so far where I've seen three on a scooter at once.

I got my patente in Rome nearly 2 years ago but I hardly ever use it, only if I have to go out at night.