As announced few days ago, after telling you about our first drives, we want to tell you 10 differences between Italy and America. Keep in mind that these are the things we noticed in our States, which are New Jersey and Pennsylvania, so if in your States things are different let us know in the comments below. Ready?
1) STREET LIGHTS: In America street lights are an optional and you can find them only downtown, and to be honest not even that many…. In the highways, in fact, they are very few, but our Italian streets are very bright and street light are missing only in dark mountain roads or lost places outside of the city! If you think about it, this is something very odd for a country that primary travels by car.
2) WINDSHIELD WIPERS: Sedans in America don’t have a rear wiper! Any other type of car has it, including big SUV! A possible explanation is that on a car with a better aerodynamic, with a sloping rear window, the laminar flow of air guarantees when the car is on motion, the cleaning of the rear window. On this kind of car, rear wipers are not necessary for the rain when the car is on motion. However if the car is stationary, the water doesn’t flow and neither the does the snow. A rear wiper would be useful in these cases, but on these vehicles, for the same reason air can wipe out the water, you can’t install a wiper, otherwise the air would tear it out or the aerodynamic would be compromised. Therefor this kind of car is equipped with a powerful thermic rear window able to defrost, melt the snow or evaporate the water real quick. If cars have a sloping rear window and a rear wiper means that the flow of air is still turbulent, but the aerodynamics of the rear window is not enough to let the air flow smoothly to the end of the vehicle. However this theory doesn’t always work, especially in case of big rainstorms.
3) CROSSWALKS: Even crosswalks are almost an optional in America. It is very rare finding them, maybe because it is just as rare finding somebody walking since everybody drives. Time to time you can see a pedestrian traffic light and you can cross, but not all of them have the stripes painted and those who have them are just two lines on the sides and you walk between them. Mapu’s driving license book says: there is no crosswalk at every intersection even it’s not painted as such. This is known as unmarked crosswalk. In new Jersey at the intersections (like traffic lights or parking lots) you always have to yield the pedestrians, even if there are no crosswalks.
4) PLATE AND LOCK: In Pennsylvania 98% of the cars have the plate only on the back. In America when we open or lock the car, this one emit a sound, usually like a horn sound. This option was created because parking lots in America are incredibly wide and there are lots of cars. Following the sound of our car we can easily find it.
5) TURN SIGNAL: In Italian cars, when a car in front of us has to turn and turn on the turning signal there is always a flashing yellow light. In America very few cars work in the same way. Most of the times the car’s stop light flashes or they have a flashing red light. At the beginning you might feel disoriented because you are expecting to see a yellow light.
6) TURNS AND ROUNDABOUTS: In America , on certain roads, if you have to turn right even with a red traffic light, you are allowed to do it. Moreover every time you have to turn left or right, cars have a dedicated lane in the middle of the road that has to be used. Also in America roundabouts barely exist.
7) HIGHWAYS: They work like ours, but in New Jersey they have exits both left and right and often one after the other.
8)TOLLS: Toll roads are called turnpikes. At the toll booth you don’t always take the ticket and there is no plank that stops you before paying. So if you drive through without paying you will get a fine at home. The payment sometimes depends on the size of the car and not always on how many miles you drove.
Moreover there are some variables like:
- On rush ours tolls are more expensive
- Depends if you are driving towards a place of interest
- Depends if the road is private, fast or important
- If the road leads to a famous touristic site it is more expensive, because according to some market researches, in this way you are encouraged to stay longer in the city.
If you wanna calculate some tolls for the turnpikes you can use this link.
9) TRAFFIC LIGHT AND STOPS: In America when the traffic light turns red and therefore you have to stop, you will notice that the stop line is far away from the traffic light itself. Probably because in this way everybody can see it. Even if it seems obvious in America you have to stop for real when you encounter in a stop sign. In Italy, we don’t always stop, sometimes we just decelerate, but in America we can’t do that or we might end up rear ending someone. When you are in an intersection with no traffic lights, but with only stops, precise precedence is in force. That means that you cross the intersection according to the arrival order at the intersection and not as a flow like in Italy or France, where the first one that cross has the right of way and so do the second and then the third coming from the same way.