Son of a &*^%(! ONCE AGAIN our Fiat 500 L got a ticket. Notice, I said the car got the ticket – not my Indy 500 wanna be speed demon husband. Tickets are mailed to you two or three months after you zoom by an autovelox. Traffic cameras, autovelox, – which are bloody everywhere – clock your speed and grab your license plate number. The autovelox, however, are not sneaky, smarmy cameras. These are blatant speed traps. There are signs announcing them and most GPS devices have them listed. Beware of –
Now, I don’t know where the car was out by itself speeding – because obviously no one in MY FAMILY would speed on an Italian road. Or not see the SIGN. The tickets come in the mail and you pay the fine at the ufficio postale. This is the third one we have been SURPRISED to get. The tickets go to the car – that is to the the person to whom the car is registered. The car is in my name. Hmmmmmmmmm.
Yikes, what if you are driving a rental? The ticket gets mailed to the rental agency and then the rental agency – a few weeks or in our case months later – charges your credit card. Watch out for that – because we also discovered that you can be charged and not have been driving the car that day. Always ask to see the ticket and demand to know the date and time.
Here are some – Don’t get a ticket – hints.
The general speed limits are as follows (this is only valid for cars. The limits are different for trucks, buses and agricultural vehicles):-130 Km / h on motorways, which are reduced to 110 in case of rain or poor visibility;-110 Km / h on main roads outside urban areas (the ones with 2 lanes in each direction) which reduced to 90 in case of rain or poor visibility;– 90 km / h on secondary rural roads (they are those with one lane in each direction);– 50 km / h in built-up area (which can be the smallest of villages perched on the highway.)lower or upper speed limits may be imposed in the presence of suitable signals present on the roads.
The speed on the local roads changes randomly. Sta attento! Pay attention to the signs! We noticed that where the roads need repairs – and that is a lot of roads in a lot of places- the town, region or province merely lowers the speed limit on that road. Whoops, we’ve got a giant pothole – lets just lower the speed limit and go for a coffee. The road washed away in the last flood, lets put up some orange plastic tape to narrow it down to one lane and reduce the speed limit. A lot of Italian roads are in deplorable condition – not the Autostrada or the main roads but the local roads. Lack of funds that has caused this situation. The speed limits are posted so don’t drive and daydream about lunch.
If you are zooming along and suddenly all the cars in front of you slam on their brakes, slam on yours. All locals know where the autovelox cameras are and slam on the brakes to drive 5-10 miles below the posted speed. The slowdown lasts for a few hundred feet beyond the autovelox and then zooooooom the cars race off again. Since Italians always slow down for these camera boxes, drive like an Italian.
These signs are easy to miss!
Beware of Zona Traffico Limitato. ZTL is a Limited Traffic Zone. We are familiar with the one in Alghero, Sardinia. In the historic center the roads are incredibly narrow and full of tourists. Driving there is limited to very few taxis and residents with stickers. Hours may or may not be posted on the signs too. Between posted hours cars are forbidden access to the ZTL. What will make you crazy is that all cities do not have the same rules. If you are driving to a new city or village, take the time to look at a local map. Car driving can cost you your vacation savings. Traffic cameras are everywhere and take a picture of your license plate. As I said earlier, the rental company will get the ticket and will forward the expense on to you. Probably with a service fee. Do NOT drive in a ZTL. Park outside the zone and walk in. On foot you see more anyway and meet all kinds of interesting folks. If you are staying in a B&B or hotel in the ZTL and have a car – ask them what to do. Some hotels can issue a temporary pass. The fine is huge! Better to spend that money on great olive oil to bring back.
2017 – new rules – Highway Code in 2017
Don’t text, talk or play with your cell phone! Italians can now loose their licenses if caught. The fines are incredibly steep – 161 euro to 646 euro! Now that is one hell of a ticket.
Our Fiat 500 L misses us and we will soon be back driving around Pontelandolfo. Since I don’t want my insurance to become so astronomical that I can’t afford to go out to dinner, I will become the car nag. My nagging will be done with love….