The Weekend Australian - Travel - - The Advanced Driving Test -

1. You must drive with your lights on at all times on mo­tor­ways (au­tostrada). 2. Do not daw­dle in the left lane on the au­tostrada. Use it only for over­tak­ing and move back to the mid­dle or right lane as soon as pos­si­ble. 3. Ital­ian driv­ers will over­take any­where, any time. 4. Un­less over­tak­ing, don’t worry too much about what’s be­hind you; con­cen­trate on what’s in front and don’t be timid. 5. When visit­ing his­toric towns and cities, park out­side the old town cen­tre ( cen­tros­torico ) and walk in; usu­ally it won’t be far. 6. Don’t as­sume all ho­tels in cities have park­ing; check when book­ing. 7. Make sure you have good maps, and a GPS satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem if pos­si­ble. You can buy por­ta­ble sys­tems in Aus­tralia (Nav­man, Mio and Tom Tom are all rec­om­mended) and down­load the latest Ital­ian maps be­fore you go. 8. Be pre­pared to get lost and al­low ex­tra trav­el­ling time. 9. If driv­ing at night, be aware that many towns block roads for the evening passeg­giata (a rit­u­alised see­and-be-seen stroll). 10. Size mat­ters: when hir­ing a car in Italy, big is not nec­es­sar­ily bet­ter. Think small, but not too tiny if you plan to use the au­tostrada: you’ll need some­thing that can keep up with the traf­fic while climb­ing hills at 130km/h but can still squeeze down nar­row streets and into tiny park­ing spots. For two peo­ple, I sug­gest a Fiat Grande Punto, an Alfa Romeo 147, Opel Corsa or VW Polo. 11. Choose diesel, not petrol, for more eco­nom­i­cal driv­ing and su­pe­rior mo­tor­way per­for­mance. 12. Or­gan­ise your car hire be­fore you leave to guar­an­tee price and avail­abil­ity: it’s usu­ally much cheaper. Book on­line and you’ll of­ten find ad­di­tional dis­counts or spe­cial of­fers, par­tic­u­larly if you are an auto club or fre­quent-flyer mem­ber. If you drop off the car in a dif­fer­ent place to where you picked it up, there will be a one-way fee. Lee Atkin­son

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