Driving in Athens
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Driving in Athens
Driving in Athens is not recommended unless you have nerves of steel; it can be unpleasant and even unsafe. Traffic tends toward gridlock or heart-stopping speeding and parking in most parts of the city could qualify as an Olympic sport. Locals are quick to point out that it is fairly easy to get around the city with a combination of public transportation and taxis, so why not save car rentals for excursions out of town? In town, red traffic lights are frequently ignored, and motorists often pass other vehicles while driving on hills and while rounding corners. Driving is on the right, and although the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way, don't expect this to be obeyed.
The speed limit is 50 kph (31 mph) in town. Seat belts are compulsory, as are helmets for motorcyclists, though many ignore the laws. In the Downtown sectors of the city do not drive in the bus lanes marked by a yellow divider; if caught, you may be fined. Downtown parking spaces are hard to find, and the few downtown garages—including ones in vacant lots—are both expensive and perpetually full. You're better off leaving your car in the hotel garage and walking or taking a cab. Gas pumps and service stations are everywhere, but be aware that all-night stations are few and far between.
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