If only all my topics could be fun…
And if only a car accident in Italy wouldn’t happen to you. It did to me. I’d stopped at a crosswalk to let a man walk his bike across and, SCREEECCCCHHHHH BOOM! I’d been rear-ended. Then I had to reach into the memory banks of all that I learned in the intensive courses in driving school to navigate a very specific and slightly complicated process. (If you haven’t done it already, I encourage you to read my post about why, as a resident in Italy, you’re required to have an Italian driver’s license).
But, I digress from this all-important topic of driving in Italy.
Preparation is everything.
If you remember one overarching message, it’s this. Without putting yourself in the mindset of “What if?” you could find your Italian experience turning into a very uncomfortable one. You could find yourself feeling caught unawares. That’s why I’m sharing my experience and my EIGHT TIPS on dealing with a car accident in Italy in the YouTube video below—to let my learning benefit you.
You may be the best driver in the world, but…
That will only get you so far. Predictably unpredictable. That’s how I would describe the driving experience in Italy. Interpretation of the driving rules and laws can often be considered, by drivers, as “subject to interpretation” or “suggestions.” Of course, I must point out that American drivers are by no means blameless in this regard either. It’s just that, from my experience in Italy, driving is a bit more creatively and spontaneously managed. (It’s also one of the reasons I believe I carved off a few years of my life by driving in Rome when we had an apartment there).
So, the underlying message is that, in my opinion, you need to be an excellent defensive driver here and you need to be constantly mindful of what is happening around you. And, ultimately, you might find yourself in an accident that isn’t your fault.
Driving school will help you prepare.
Instead of weeping and gnashing your teeth at the perceived unfairness of having to return to driving school after driving decades “back home,” consider this an opportunity. And, attending driving school is obligatory for U.S. citizens, since Italy doesn’t allow transfer of an American driver’s license.
So, let’s jump into the video.
1. Know the language.
2. Decide who to call based on the severity of the accident.
3. Employ your road hazard gear.
4. Fill out your Modulo Blu form.
5. Take photos to record details of the accident.
6. Get your documents ready for the police.
A special call-out here and one that I can’t emphasize enough: If you have been registered as a resident in Italy for a year or more, than you are required by law to have an Italian driver’s license. If not, you’re driving illegally and can have your car impounded and you can be subject to increased/additional fines and liabilities. The mere fact of having a car registered in your name tells the police you are a resident since you cannot own a car without being a resident. It doesn’t take much for the police to go into the computer database and see how long you’ve been a resident. You’ll undoubtedly hear stories of expats who have been skating under the radar in this regard while thinking they can drive indefinitely on an American driver’s license. DON’T RISK IT!
7. Confirm the accuracy of the report (Modulo Blu) and sign.
8. Take your Modulo Blu copy to your insurance company.
So, my friends, that’s my advice on the “biggies” when it comes to navigating being involved in a car accident in Italy. It is by no means exhaustive and it is no substitute for you studying the particulars in greater depth. Every situation is different. Fortunately, my fender bender was a minor one. But, without being prepared and knowing what to expect I’m certain my stress level would have been through the roof!