Do you remember those drivers education videos that we had to watch? People walk out in front of you, cars are double parked, there are confusing traffic lights, and cars pull out from side streets without regard for stop signs.
That is Rome... everyday. The drivers are crazy. I have never seen so many cars double parked.
The Romans have an interesting technique for pulling out onto a major roads from a side street. They wait until there is a tiny break in traffic. Rather than pulling out quickly in front of you, and being on their way, they pull out just enough so that you can't get by. Forcing you to slam on your breaks and stop quickly. Once they confirm that you've stopped, they will then pull out slowly in front of you and proceed to drive slowly for a few minutes just to prove they've gotten the better of you.
The highways are equally tricky here and they make the autobahn look like a go-cart track. The fast lane is basically for people going around 100 + miles per hour. We've found people that we know were going around 120 mph.
I am a pretty good driver in these situations, which I think is a result of my time in France. Although a will give the French credit for being quick (they would never use the pull out technique above) and relatively safe.
My in-laws were here the past two weeks and they couldn't believe how crazy it was, but they felt that way about France too. Once, as I was going around the Etoile, the huge round-about at the Arc de Triomphe, they were practically panicked and definitely had white knuckles. They said they would never want to drive here.
Fortunately, not everyone feels that way. My mom drove our car in France and I'm sure she could handle it here too. She's lived in Chicago for the last ten years and can handle herself around "the crazies". I'll probably need another c-section with this baby and they tell you not to drive for 6 weeks afterwards, so she'll have to drive me around a little. Did any of you have c-sections? Did you wait 6 weeks last time?
What is the hardest driving you've ever done? Where people are the most aggressive? Have you all ever driven in France or Italy?