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Suggestions For Renting Cars In Italy

Suggestions For Renting Cars In Italy

Most people on vacation like the safety, economy and ease of public transport that buses, trams and trains offer, yet they crave the freedom, convenience and independence of a rented car. But before trying to rent a car in Italy, it would be best to go through the following suggestions that will make things a lot easier. It’s really pretty easy to enjoy the freedom of rental cars in Italy when you are traveling on your own, with family or in a private group, and don’t want to be herded like sheep into buses and vans.

It’s the practical option if you have luggage, shopping bags or camping gear that can be unwieldy to lug around on public transport. And if you want to visit far off towns and villages, the public transport system may not be very reliable, so the best option is to be on your own in a rented vehicle.

Let’s get started.

International Driver’s License – Do you have one? You will definitely need one if you are keen on renting a car in Italy. You driving license is translated into an Italian form and is known as an International Driving Permit. The car hire companies may not insist on one but if the police find you renting a car without an international driving license then you could be in for trouble. If you’re from the US then visit the AAA website for more details on how to get an international driving license.

Get a trusty map – If you want to discover the length and breadth of Italy then you will most surely need a good map, one with updated names and accurate directions. Don’t buy any cheap map from the roadside; think of a more expensive map as an investment. If you are hiking or mountain biking the more detailed (and hence more costly!) map will be useful and a good map can be bought at Touring Club.

The Italian parking conundrum – This can be a puzzling prospect for visitors to Italy, at any time of the year, as the parking spaces can be few and far between in most big cities. Although there are dedicated parking zones and allotments, the distance can be a bother and hence citizens park without heed to rules. As a tourist and international driver, you are advised to follow parking sings and not risk your vehicle being towed away and being fined hefty penalties. Keep spare time to look for parking when you head to crowded cities and monuments.

Need emergency help? – Ok, so you’re on your own and driving a renting car and suddenly the car breaks down or you have a road accident or medical emergency then you need to dial 116 from your mobile and reach the emergency road help service and if you are on the Autostrade then get to the call boxes located on the side of the road and dial the helpline number.

Lastly, always keep your seat belts fastened, don’t talk on the phone while driving (unless you have hands-free service/headphones), don’t drink and drive, always keep the headlights on during the day and night and place the safety vests (with reflective panels) in the car. All these are strictly monitored by the police and non-compliance could attract a fine, seizing of vehicle or criminal persecution.

Renting a car in Italy is a very simple process, especially if you book online and search the rental company sites for deals and price discounts. Make sure to abide by the laws and traffic rules to enjoy an uninterrupted driving experience in Italy.

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Do’s and Dont’s For Hiring A Car In Italy

Do’s and Dont’s For Hiring A Car In Italy

In all countries, including Italy, renting and driving a car involves adhering to local regulations and laws. You will usually need a valid international driving license (although in some places, your state or country driver’s license will be sufficient). The license must be kept with you in the car and it’s best to keep some other personal identity proof like a passport or student ID card. To hire a car in Italy ensure you have taken motor insurance and have a registered vehicle. If the car is not yours, carry a letter from the owner that says you have permission to drive it.

To book a car on the internet, one needs to only access a computer and run a search for car rental companies. There are superb price comparison search engine sites that ask for the most basic travel data from you and list out all the available cars and car hire companies that are open for booking on those dates. After comparing the features and the prices you can pay online with a debit or credit card and print a rental voucher receipt.

Depending on the car rental company you have chosen, the age for driving will vary, i.e. the minimum and maximum age. So make sure you always find out about the individual age policy of the rental company instead of paying added charges later.

The busy cities like Milan, Rome, Turin, Naples and Verona may be crowded and not offer drivers good speeds but when you are on the interstate highway called as Autostrade, the speeds can be encouraging. Also in villages the speed limit may be as less as 50 km/hr if the weather is rainy and roads are wet. Read the road signs carefully and do follow the speed limits strictly. For instance motorways are 130 km/hr, dual carriageways are 110 km/hr and open roads are 90 km/hr in good weather. If the roads are wet then the speeds go down to 110 km/hr, 90 km/hr and 80 km/hr respectively.

In addition, there are a few more do’s and don’ts that you need to consider:

  • The cops are very strict about not drinking and driving, the limit in Italy for drivers is 05 mg alcohol per 1 ml of blood as against say 0.8/1 units in the UK.
  • No matter where you are driving and at what time seatbelts and headlights are compulsory. Not wearing belts and turning off the lights will definitely result in fines.
  • Keep to the right side of the road and only just when you want to overtake indicate with lights and move to the left. After overtaking from the left, move back to the right hand side lane and maintain the speed limits.
  • All children below age 4 need to be seated with special child restraint. Children below age 12 who are seated in the front seat need a special restraint.
  • All fines are spot fines and if you are fined, then do collect a receipt from the traffic warden.
  • If driving in the winter months then a snow chain and set of winter tyres are compulsory. Just have them in the car and use as per need and weather condition.
  • Don’t use your horn in heavily built-up sectors of the cities. In an emergency it’s ok to horn, but best avoided rest of the time.
  • Neon colored warning vests need to be kept in the car, and preferably not in the boot of the car. These must be worn before getting out of the car when the car is forced to park in dark places and emergencies to signal approaching cars and help teams.
  • In Italy diesel, petrol and LPG are widely used as fuel and to use the non-Autostrada petrol pumps it is advisable to keep cash as they do not accept payment through debit or credit cards.

Most streets have traffic surveillance cameras and radar traps, so breaking the law is not worth taking the chance. To put it in a nutshell, it’s way easier to be informed of the traffic rules and ensure that your driving time in Italy is event-free.

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