How To Cross The Road In Rome (1 Happy 1 Sad story)

LonelyPlanet jokingly shared that Romans only stop their vehicle for nuns and to answer phones. 

The best ways to cross the road in Rome? Look for a pedestrian crossing and walk confidently so the driver knows your intention clearly. Without a pedestrian crossing, walking together with priests or nuns is a great alternative as they are respected. The last choice is to walk steadfast and hope the driver adjusts their speed in advance. 

How safe is Rome for tourists

Crossing the road in Rome can be terrifying for the first few times, but you’ll get used to it. If you’re still hesitant, cross together with a local and you’ll be fine. Sometimes you will even see nuns clutch their hands and pray as they cross the road.

Not to scare people, 1 sad accident in the past at Rome on July 2018. A 22-year-old girl from Rome has died whilst crossing Corso Vittorio Emanuele in the very center of the city, run over by a coach full of tourists. According to initial investigations, the girl had crossed Corso Vittorio at the end of the piazza in Chiesa Nuova when she was hit by a coach that was crossing the fast lane towards Tevere. According to some witnesses, the girl had started to cross just as the red light for pedestrians appeared, whilst others say the coach was in the lane reserved for public transport vehicles.

However, Kerry of New Jersey shared how she had no issues crossing the Rome roads in 8 days with her family of four:-

Lisa, before my recent trip to Rome, I too was worried about crossing streets in Rome while walking with my family of four (incl. 2 kids). That was probably based on some of the same postings you read on this sight. All I can say is, we spent 8 days in Rome in July. We walked all over the place and had no incidents whatsoever. It was the same as walking in any other city. I did not feel that the Roman driver's had less regard for pedestrian safety than elsewhere. We felt very safe walking around. Just cross on the green pedestrian sign unless there is absolutely no traffic coming your way. It's just a matter of good old common sense. You will be fine, and Rome was fantastic! We loved it!
The piazza's at night are lovely, we walked around every night.

Unlike many countries, Roman drivers cannot wait and advance even if there are pedestrians still at the pedestrian crossing. This makes crossing the road dangerous or scary for someone not used to the culture and suspects if those white stripes are really pedestrian crossing. The best way is to watch this video of crossing the road in Rome years ago.

You got to learn how to cross the road in Rome to stay safe.

Luca Guala, a mobility planner based in Cagliari, Italy shared in Quora that there are walkability issues with his trained eye. Drivers are not stopping for pedestrians and happen at different extents in different situations:

  • more on 2+2 lane roads than on 1+1 roads
  • more when traffic flows fast than when it is slow
  • more in big cities than in small towns
  • more in the south of Italy than in the north
  • more during commute rush hours than at off-peak hours

Why don’t Italian drivers stop at pedestrian crossings? At busy intersections, it does not make sense to wait till there are no pedestrians as drivers will only get honked by their fellow drivers. This grew into a culture of not waiting till all pedestrians cross the road regardless of major roads or arterial roads

The most dangerous way to cross the road is to rely on your natural instinct to slow when you see an approaching car. As Lonely Planet shared:-

Unfortunately, the first instinct most people have – step, wait, two steps, hesitate in case a scooter doesn’t see you, sprint at an opening – is a sure-fire way to get winged. If you stutter-step, you’ll screw up drivers’ timing and either end up having your toes flattened or at the very least prompt a chorus of angry horns.

Why do people walk in front of moving cars without waiting to see if it stops

Walking confidently when you have the right of walks is the main reason why people walk without confirming the cars will stop for you. This happened even with younger generations who looked at their phones instead of worrying for their life. 

If you think crossing Rome's roads is terrible, Lonely Planet rated Vietnam's roads as even worse:

Crossing an uncontrolled intersection in Vietnam is similar to crossing in Rome but with 36 percent more butt-clenching. (lonelyplanet.com)


Efforts have been made to get the information as accurate and updated as possible. If you found any incorrect information with credible source, please send it via the contact us form
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Sky Hoon
Italy Lover. He travel to Europe a few times and loved Italy for its unique language and culture. He loved the idea of Italian food focusing on original taste of the ingredient.
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