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Travel to Italy by car


Taking your car to Italy

The following documents are required to drive in Italy:

- Valid UK passport
- Valid full driving license (not provisional). All valid UK driving licences should be accepted in Italy, however if you have the older license, you are strongly recommended to have it updated to a photo card license for travel to Italy.
Minimum age at which a UK licence holder may drive temporarily imported car and/or motorcycle (over 125cc or with passenger) is 18.
- The original vehicle registration document. If the car is borrowed, this document is required along with a letter of authority from the vehicle's owner.
- Motor insurance - third-party compulsory. Check with your insurance company if it is valid in Italy.
- A clearly displayed GB sticker

Compulsory equipment:

Spare bulbs, warning triangle, reflective jacket/waistcoat of high visibility (to be worn when getting off the vehicle in intercity roads), crash helmet on two-wheeled vehicles.
Any vehicle with a overhanging load (e.g. carrying bicycle at rear) must display reflectorised square panel; a fine may be imposed if the sign is not displayed.

Seat belts:

The wearing of seat belts is compulsory for front/rear seat occupants, if fitted. Children aged 3 or under cannot travel as front or rear seat passenger unless using suitable restraint system. Children between 4 and 12 cannot travel as front or rear seat passenger unless using suitable restraint system or an adaptor for a seat belt. Where no restraint system is available they must travel on the rear seats accompanied by a passenger over 16 years of age.

Mobile phones:

The use of mobile telephones is prohibited if they require intervention by hand to operate.

Speed limits:

Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers:
- in built-up areas 50 km/h (31 mph),
- outside built-up areas 90km/h (55 mph) on ordinary roads,
- 110 km/h (68 mph) on dual carriageways,
- 130 km/h (80 mph) on motorways.
NOTE: in wet weather lower speed limits of 55 mph (90 km/h) apply on dual carriageways and 68 mph (110 km/h) on motorways. Restrictions apply if vehicles are using spiked tyres.
NOTE that speed limits for caravans and campers are lower.

Drinking and driving:

If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.05 per cent or more, severe penalties include fines, confiscation of vehicle and imprisonment.

Fines:

On-the-spot. Particularly heavy for speeding offences. The police can impose the fine and collect 1 quarter of the maximum fine, and must give a receipt for the amount of the fine paid. Illegally parked vehicles can be clamped or towed away and a fine imposed.

Petrol (Benzina):

Unleaded petrol (95 octane) available. Diesel (Gasolio) and LPG (GPL) available. Service stations are open from 06:30/07:00 to 12:30/13:00 and from 15:00 to 19:30. Service is guaranteed 24 hours a day on the motorways. Automatic pumps function in the evenings and at night.

Cost of petrol:

(August 2006): Unleaded (senza piombo) approximately €1.38 per litre.
Diesel approximately €1.20.
LPG approximately € 0.65.
Filling stations display accepted credit cards at the entrance; only a few petrol stations in Italy do not accept credit cards.

MOTORWAYS AND ROADS IN ITALY:

As in the rest of continental Europe, vehicles travel on the right and overtake on the left. Italy uses international road signs.

MOTORWAYS signs are indicated by the letter A (autostrada) followed by a number written in white on a green background. They are subject to tolls, except south of Salerno and Bari. You can check traffic forecast on motorways on http://www.autostrade.it/.

A ROADS signs are indicated by the letters SS (strada statale) followed by a number written in white on a blue background.

B ROADS signs are indicated by the letters SP (strada provinciale) followed by a number written in white on a blue background.

RING ROAD = Tangenziale

Lights:

Use of dipped headlights during the day is compulsory outside built-up areas and during snow and rain / poor visibility. Rear fog lights may only be used when visibility is less than 50 metres or in case of strong rain or intense snow.
Use of dipped headlights during the day compulsory on all roads for motorcycles. Wearing of crash helmets compulsory for both driver and passenger. The vehicle can be seized for non-compliance. The minimum age of a pillion is 18.
In built up areas the use of the horn is prohibited except in cases of immediate danger.

Lanes:

On three-lane roads, the middle lane is reserved for overtaking, which must always be signalled in advance with the directional signal that must be kept on while overtaking. In towns or city traffic on roads with three lanes or on roads with three or more lanes in each direction, cars are allowed to move in parallel rows. No U-turns are permitted and stopping is permitted only in emergency parking areas or parking lanes. A breakdown service (telephone number 116) is available from the Automobile Club Italia (ACI) throughout the country. Calls for help on the motorways can be made from the emergency positions, located every 2 km, 24 hours a day.

Wheel chains:

Important for any winter motoring. In the area of Val D'Aosta, vehicles must be equipped with winter tyres or snow chains from 1 October until 15 April.

Tolls:

Are levied on the majority of motorways. Tolls can normally be paid through the following methods:
- In Cash,
- Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club are accepted,
- By Telepass, a kind of transponder for frequent drivers.
Pay attention to choose the right lane at the toll station: if you wish to pay in cash, follow the white signs, if you wish to pay by credit card, follow the blue signs. Lanes with yellow signs are reserved for Telepass users.
Service stations are very frequent along all of the motorways. They are always open, and in addition to fuel, provide service such as toilets, restaurants, bars, information offices and cashpoint.

For further information you can contact :