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Road rules in Italy

There is a capillary network of state and provincial motorways and suburban roads in Italy. Nothing better than a rental car to explore Italy's many attractions on your own. However, rarely are those arriving from abroad familiar with the road safety regulations of the host country and, sometimes, even residents may have some doubts, especially regarding the latest news of the Highway Code or local ordinances.

If you have to rent a car, however, it is good to keep them in mind to avoid incurring serious administrative penalties or, even worse, exposing yourself to serious risks.

International driving licence

First of all, we remind you that, if your licence was issued in a country not belonging to the European Community, you must hold a valid international driving permit (it lasts one year from the date of issue).

Driving licences with non-Latin characters must be translated into Latin characters by the Embassy or Consulate. Otherwise, we cannot deliver the vehicle to you and, in any case, you could not circulate.

Ground rules

In Italy you drive on the right and overtake on the left. On motorways and suburban roads, it is compulsory to drive with the sidelights and dipped headlights on, while on city streets this is optional.

The use of the horn is prohibited inside built-up areas except in an emergency. The use of seat belts, front and rear, is always mandatory.

In the proximity of crossroads, unless otherwise indicated by horizontal or vertical signs, priority is given to vehicles coming from the right.

MTPL insurance is included in the rate and the vehicle comes with the mandatory equipment consisting of a reflective triangle and high-reflective jacket.

The high-reflectivity jacket must be worn in the event of an emergency stop on the right edge of the carriageway and the warning triangle must be positioned at least 50 metres from the broken-down vehicle.


The parking lots on the blue lines are paid, while there is free parking on those with white lines. Some municipal administrations allow free parking for electric vehicles on the blue lines in restricted traffic areas.

This is undoubtedly one more reason to get well informed about the regulations of your destination city and, of course, to evaluate the rental of an electric car.

Speed limits

On motorways, the maximum speed allowed is 130 km/h (80 miles), on extra-urban roads 110 km/h (70 miles) while, within built-up areas, 50 km/h (31 miles). Adverse weather or visibility conditions reduce the above limits.

Child seats and reducers

Italian law provides for the mandatory use of safety devices for children up to the age of 12 or 150 cm in height.

Once they reach the height of one and a half metres, children may travel seated on the vehicle seats and secured with seat belts.

you can use car seats, after this weight and up to the height indicated above you can use the boosters or adapters, small mobile seats that allow you to raise the child.

Snow chains are mandatory on board

In the days between 15/11 and 15/04 in most of central-northern Italy and some areas of central and southern Italy (including the islands), specific ordinances stipulate that the use of snow wheels or snow chains on board is mandatory.

The cars, in these areas and if not equipped with snow tyres, will be supplied already equipped with chains included in the proposed rental price.

At the time of booking, you can choose to exclude the snow chains accessory (in this case a declaration must be made) if you intend to provide it yourself or if you have already planned a route that does not include the roads or territorial areas concerned.

For more information, you can consult the website of the State Police.

What to do in the event of a claim

It is essential to observe prudence when driving but if you have the misfortune of running into a road accident it is good to know how to behave.

In the event of a driving accident, with or without a counterparty, you are always obliged to declare what happened. In the event of an accident with a counterparty, the number plate, insurance company, name of the driver and any witnesses, and the name of the car's owner, which appears in the vehicle registration document, must be noted.

This information is essential. To do this, follow the outline of the accident report in the onboard documentation.

Vehicles should not be removed only if the accident caused serious damage to people or things, otherwise, they should be removed to avoid obstructing traffic (punishable by a fine).

Here is a small handbook on how to behave in the event of a claim:

  1. Make sure there are no injuries.
  2. Keep calm and avoid heated arguments with the other party.
  3. Position the warning triangles at a safe distance from the vehicle to signal it to other motorists in transit.
  4. Take detailed photographs of the accident site and the vehicles involved. The licence plate number of the latter must be visible.
  5. Fill in the accident report. Both parties should sign the form after agreeing on the dynamics of the facts together. If the other party refuses to sign, in addition to the form only you signed, you should collect evidence (witnesses or any report by the authorities that may have intervened on the spot).
  6. Clear the carriageway of any vehicles involved if no serious damage to persons or property has occurred.

Driving restrictions for novice drivers

For new drivers there are specific driving restrictions, to learn more we refer you to our dedicated article.

We would like to remind you that new drivers are absolutely not allowed to drive after consuming alcoholic drinks. The alcohol limit allowed for other drivers is 0.5 grams per litre.

Road assistance

In the event of an accidental stop or damage caused by an accident, call roadside assistance on 800 069837 (+39 015 2559656 from abroad). We remind you that the service is free only in case of a subscription to the optional Road Assistance Plus coverage.

Emergency numbers

The main emergency numbers to remember are:

  • Police 113
  • Fire Brigade 115
  • Ambulance 118

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