Rome Drivers

I feel like I’m a pretty good Los Angeles driver.  I’m not too aggressive or too passive.  I try my best to watch out for other drivers and I don’t freak out when someone jumps into my lane cutting me off, or honk unless I’m in actual physical danger.  Not just surprised, but actually in danger, you know, to let someone know that they are about to run into me.  I don’t honk if I get mad or frustrated.  I’ve been in 2 accidents, or traffic collisions as Police Constable Nicholas Angel says:  one I was rear-ended in morning traffic.  The other was my fault and I totaled my dream car, the 1990 Acura Legend.

I was not prepared for the drivers within the city of Roma.  Oh my goodness, it was insanity.  I felt a little uncomfortable at first, but when Amy told me that you have to possess a special permit to drive within city limits I knew I was inside the cars of professionals.  It just seemed like madness.  It felt like there were 2 gigantic lanes.  One going in one direction, the other going in the opposite.  And it also seemed like the idea was to fit as many cars as possible into each one of those lanes.  It could be 4 cars and 2 scooters all lined up in one lane, barely scraping side-mirrors.  I also felt like since there weren’t necessarily designated lanes, the drivers felt like they had less ownership on their spot and didn’t freak out and turn into spoiled babies when someone cut them off.  They just took it for what it is, a normal part of daily life in a huge city.  I was overwhelmed by the taxis and scooters navigating the roads and just squeezing into whatever tiny spots and blocking other traffic.  There is also a center island/lane type thing for a bus system.  Sometimes there would be cars in this lane going whichever way they wanted to…but I never saw a sign that said “OK it’s safe to be in this lane now”……It never really seemed safe to be in that lane.  And how they ever navigate down the mostly pedestrian sidestreets and alleys without killing or running over anyone is amazing and probably frustrating to be behind a bunch of Italians just making their way down the street, strolling.

I also didn’t see any gas stations until we got a little out of the city proper.  And then it was just 2 pumps on the side of the road.  Like a racetrack.  Cars just zip up to the pump and furiously put gas into the tanks and zoom away.  There were a few of these lined up about a block away from each other.  But literally just on the side of the road.  Similar to a bus turnout lane in Santa Clarita.  Nothing compared to the 20 pump stations we have on every corner around here.

Now I can’t wait to get my special permit and learn to drive Roman style.

Currently Listening to:  Melt-Banana – Cell-Scape (2003) LP

Melt-Banana - Cell-Scape

remarkably-controlled fury indeed

Leave a Comment

  • Maggie December 5, 2009, 9:30 am

    I think it’s funny that you think that you don’t drive like a maniac! I wouldn’t say that you are a bad driver, or that I’m terrified when you drive, but I will say that it is always an exhilarating experience!

  • Amy December 5, 2009, 9:51 am

    yea …. I love you – but maybe you shouldn’t have invited opinions on your driving :)

    Rome was soooo CRAZY. … so glad we were there together.

  • Julie December 5, 2009, 11:15 am

    Very interesting. You’re good at writing word pictures.

    I don’t ever honk at people, but when Amy and I were on our trip to Aunt Debbies last weekend, I honked at someone who was about to back into me and the car in front of me thought I was honking at them. They gave me a dirty look when they drove past. I wanted to explain it all to them but of course I couldn’t.

  • Michelle December 5, 2009, 8:31 pm

    I love you Julie.

    I honk at everyone… old ladies, police. Just yesterday it took me an hour to drive home from work because of photo radars that the city has decided to waste tax dollars on- everywhere. And even though it only takes your picture if you’re going 11 over the speed limit, people now drive 10 under the speed limit! Seriously pisses me off. And what ever happened to “slower traffic stay to the right”? Sorry, anyway, I honked at like 6 people on the way home yesterday for many driving blunders that people make. –To continue… Don’t people want to get home?! I mean I don’t understand why anyone would want to drive under the speed limit and sit in rush hour traffic longer. That does not sound fun at all.

  • Michelle December 5, 2009, 8:35 pm

    By the way, I think you’re a great driver. I mean the way you zip in out of lanes like a professional California driver is respectable.

    I couldn’t imagine driving in a foreign county. I saw what it was like in Ireland… Instead of two BIG lanes they had one little lane the tried to fit a big huge double decker bus going one way and smaller compact cars going the other way. Scary.

  • Nancy December 6, 2009, 8:40 pm

    Maybe you should read up on accident statistics in Rome before you try to drive there.

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