We've always heard about the crazy drivers in Napoli, but we weren't too worried about it since A) we're not too shy behind the wheel (especially Jon) and B) we lived in NYC for 4-5 years and had no problems at all when we needed to drive in the city. In fact, we missed NYC driving when we moved out. So we should be more prepared to handle it than other Americans coming over.. and we are!
Jon's been doing all of the driving so far since we had to rent a stick shift car, which I don't know how to drive (yet). We've been driving around for a couple of days and there were certain times where I white knuckled my passenger side handle, but overall, it wasn't as crazy as I thought it would be... until this past Sunday. On Sunday we decided to take a drive into downtown Napoli, and let me just tell you I thought someone was going to get killed. I covered my eyes, squeezed the handle, and yelled "WATCH OUT" more than a few times. Jon was made for this type of driving and was pretty calm... even though I know he was looking around saying, "What is going on here???"
From what we've observed so far here are some rules to abide by when you drive here:
1) Do not drive in the left lane unless you are passing. This is a rule that we wish could be implemented more in the United States. Virginia drivers LOVE to hog up the left lane going the speed limit or below and not let anyone pass. In Napoli, the drivers will flash you to get out of the way (and they do). In Virginia, it was Jon doing the flashing, but people would only move about half of the time.
2) Stop signs are for beginners. Seriously, treat them as if they're not there.
3) You know those white lines on highways and streets. Yeah, just ignore those too. Many people straddle lanes. I don't know why.
4) Cars, buses, vespas, etc. can pass you if they think you're going too slow. Even if there's nowhere to pass, and especially if there's a car coming on the other side.
5) People driving vespas and scooters weave in and out of cars, while talking on their cell phones, and smoking a cigarette. Or possibly while hauling all of their garbage to wherever they dump it.
6) Pedestrians walk wherever and whenever they want. It is your job not to hit them.
7) When turning onto a street, just go. It really doesn't matter who is there... they'll slow down to avoid you.
I'm sure we'll be adding more to this list as we continue to drive around, but this is what we have so far. We'll be picking up our car this week so I'll have my hand at driving soon. More to come!