The rumors about crazy drivers in Naples are widely spread. At first, we weren’t too worried about it. We’re not too shy behind the wheel, and we lived in New York City for about five years. Even in a city like New York, we never had problems (or fears) when we needed to drive in the city. (In fact, we missed NYC driving when we moved!) Although we felt more prepared than others to drive in Naples, we quickly learned “crazy” customs about life on the road. Ultimately, we came up with seven customs, which anyone should know when they want to drive in Naples!
Our Personal Experience Driving in Naples
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). As we drove around for a couple of days, I found myself white-knuckling my passenger side handle several times! But, I still thought to myself that it wasn’t as crazy as I thought it would be… until I realized it was obviously THAT crazy.
One Sunday, I truly thought someone was going to get killed.
We’d decided to take a drive into downtown Naples, but it didn’t turn out to be a relaxing, enjoyable Sunday drive. I covered my eyes and squeezed the handle. I yelled “WATCH OUT” more than a few times.
In a word, drivers were AGGRESSIVE. And, it became very clear that the rules of the road were merely suggestions.
Often, we were in total disbelief. We couldn’t stop asking ourselves, “What is going on here?”
7 Customs to Know when Driving in Naples
While drivers in Naples seem to ignore rules, we observed seven customs that native drivers seem to recognize.
1) The left lane is strictly for passing. This is a rule that we wish could be implemented more in the United States. (Regardless of their speed, Virginia drivers LOVE to hog the left lane and completely ignore people trying to pass.) In Naples, the drivers will flash you to get out of the way, and people abide.
2) Stop signs are for beginners. Most drivers ignore them.
3) Dividing lines on the road are recommendations. We were surprised how many drivers straddle lanes. Expect people to veer into your path.
4) Cars, buses, vespas, and bicycles can pass you if they think you’re going too slow. Even if there’s little space available, or if there’s an oncoming car, people will find a way to pass — and scare the daylights out of you.
5) People driving vespas and scooters weave in and out of cars at alarming rates. We’ve seen them weave around traffic while talking on their cell phones, smoking a cigarette, and 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) Drivers make turns at anytime. It really doesn’t matter who is there. If you’re turning, just go.
I’m sure there are more customs to add to this list. The fact is, driving in Naples is like nothing you’ve ever seen!
That being said, the best thing to do is stay aware and learn through experience. Soon, I’m sure these customs will become second nature!