The military community in the Naples area is spread out so for many, driving a car is a necessity. Upon arrival, you will notice driving habits are considerably different from those in the United States. Roads are small, space can be limited, and it is very fast paced. Absolute alertness is required to keep you and your family safe.
While at first there may seem to be no logic to the traffic patterns, a closer look will show that there are distinct rules of the road. Because of the often-congested roads and the hurried pace of the traffic, absolute alertness while driving is of the utmost importance. Due to the seemingly wild driving nature of Neapolitan traffic, it is not enough to only exercise the same caution in driving that you would at home. You must be more aware of the other drivers around you and what they are doing. Never believe the other driver sees you. Search 12 seconds ahead at all times, evaluate the actions and execute a response to their actions in advance, rather than trying to react and finding yourself out of time and space. This will help you avoid a traffic incident.
Learning these rules and some local driving customs will help you adjust quickly to driving in Naples. Many intersections have no stop lights or traffic control. The vehicle on the right has the right-of-way, unless there is a stop sign. Low beams are required by law on main highways or darker roads. Headlights should always be turned on in tunnels. Flashing headlights are also used to signal the approach to stopped traffic at crossroads or to signal slower vehicles to move right and permit a faster vehicle to pass. When a car behind you flashes its lights, move to the right lane as soon as it is safe to do so. Although some drivers may take what seem like unnecessary and dangerous chances to gain only a few feet of road space, Italian law requires you to allow overtaking traffic to pass you. While horn blowing is technically illegal in many Italian cities, it is loosely enforced. Many people blow their horn to signal they are approaching an intersection or intend to pass. Drivers also commonly use their hazard lights to signal danger, especially in slow or stopped traffic. Do not pick up hitchhikers.
Rentals are expensive, but there is a substantial used-car market here, with vehicles advertised weekly in the base newspaper, “Panorama” and through fliers around the base. The used-car market, however, tends to be above the price you would expect to find in the United States. This is particularly true for automatic transmission cars, since most locals tend to drive cars with manual transmission. Italian public transportation, bus, train, taxis and Navy-sponsored shuttles are also available.
Fuel Ration Cards
Gas prices in Europe are much more expensive than those in America. Luckily, servicemembers and Defense Department employees are eligible for gas ration cards. Ration cards went into effect on Jan 1, 2019 and replace ration coupons that have been in place since WWII.
The ration amount and fuel type depend on the primary registered vehicle’s engine size, engine base horsepower, and fuel requirement. Your monthly tax-free fuel authorization ranges from 100 liters to 400 liters maximum for automobiles while rations or motorcycles may not exceed 200 liters. The price for fuel with a ration card as of January 1, 2019 is approximately $1.10 per litter.
The primary reason for the tax-free fuel benefit is to subsidize the cost of fuel for the daily commute to the appointed place of duty. Eligible personnel at each base will be able to make an appointment at your local NEX.
Fuel Card Information
Roads and Rules
Driving on Italian roads is very similar to driving in the U.S. and cars can easily be imported. The legal minimum age for driving is 18 years. Any person desiring to drive in Naples must have a current U.S. driver’s license or valid license from another country. As stipulated in the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), eligible drivers must obtain an AFI driver’s license by attending a local traffic safety driving course and passing a 48-question road sign test. The exam, along with the Alcohol and You test, is given during Area Orientation immediately following the mandatory Local Driver Safety Orientation Briefing. Your AFI driver’s license will be valid for five years if you maintain a valid ID card. If you plan on visiting other countries, an international license, is required. Note: Regardless of U.S. licensing, individuals under 18 are not allowed to drive in Italy.
Drinking and Driving
Drunken driving is an extremely serious offense in Italy. A blood alcohol level of 0.05 is positive proof of drunk driving. Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer or blood alcohol content (BAC) test results in immediate loss of the license for six months, a possible fine from Italian authorities, and loss of base driving privileges for a year.
Italia - Rules to Drive in Italy
Welcome Aboard - Italy