Observations of an Englishman abroad on driving Sicilian style

21 Jul

By Stuart Elliott

What do Sicilians use pedestrian crossings for?
– Parking

What do Sicilian drivers use pedestrian crossings for when not parking on them?
– Hooting at any pedestrian silly enough to try walking on them.

And stop signs?
– For driving into the back of drivers who think there might actually be a reason to stop.

‘Give Way’ signs are strangely in English. Not surprising then that everybody ignores them.

Lane markings, barely discernible as they are, are considered a waste of paint and are therefore best ignored.

Speed limit signs
– Assuming you can make them out as generally they are just a blur, the rule of thumb is – take the number double it and add ten.

Toll booths
– Are a good opportunity to hone lane barging skills. Whoever is one centimetre ahead wins. (See intersection and roundabout technique below.)

What do Sicilians use the Fast Lane for?
– High speed slip streaming at close to terminal velocity head lights flashing and, if the ‘slow’ moving vehicle a few cms ahead doesn’t yield, 2 handed 2 fingered gesticulations.

And the slow lane? Well it has several uses:
– Overtaking is the preferred option.
– Slowing from 140 to 40 km/hr within 100 metres to exit the highway.
– Driving at 60 km/hr to conserve fuel.

What happens to Sicilian drivers at traffic lights when faced with a red light?
– Momentary blindness

What do Sicilians use indicators for?
– Beats me.

How do Sicilians like to park?
– At 45 degrees to the pavement, with as much of their rear stuck out into the traffic as possible in order to block the flow of traffic, thus allowing them a quick get away when they return with their shopping following a quick gesture of friendly greeting to inconvenienced drivers stuck behind and now leaning on their horns.
– In the middle of the flow of traffic when all normal parking spots are taken, after all it’s not their fault there are no spare parking slots in front of their favourite café.
– At intersections preventing any view of vehicles turning into the flow of traffic.

How to ensure success when barging into the flow of traffic at intersections and roundabouts when one doesn’t have the right of way.
– Avoid all eye contact and never thank a driver for letting you in; which of course would be difficult anyway because you haven’t seen them.

The best automotive business?
​- Smash repairs.

The best outfit for female riders of 2 wheeled vehicles?
– A tan, short shorts, high heels and hair blowing in the wind.

The best place to ride your scooter?
– Down the centre of the road in the meanest of gaps between opposing lanes of traffic with mirrors folded and eyes closed.

The coolest way to wear your helmet, assuming you haven’t left it at home?
– At the nape of your neck to ensure that if you ever had an accident it would throttle you.

And cyclists?
– They are the same the world over – one set of rules for when cycling 2 abreast chatting, another for when driving. (Sorry Brian I am sure you are not like that!)

Note from the Navigator and Photographer: I could not snap the most agregious driving offences as I had my eyes firmly closed. We thought our four years driving in Malaysia had prepared us for driving anywhere but Sicily truly is a ‘special’ case. The steep, stone street is two-way in case you were wondering, and the women in the other photo standing by the car are trying to achieve the impossible park.

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