Am I bonkers to consider driving in Turkey? - Myths about driving in Turkey26th January 2015
You may well ask yourself, just how difficult is it to drive in Turkey?
If it is your first time to Turkey the idea of driving in Turkey can seem a daunting task, especially in major crowded cities such as Istanbul. Whereby in reality driving in Turkey whether it is in the small towns or large cities is not so difficult. Generally driving in Turkey is not as bad as some may make out.
Most of the roads and highways are in very good condition. Turkey is investing a lot of money in their road infrastructure and the roads are well signposted.
Popular misconceptions about driving in Turkey
1) "Don’t drive in Turkey because the locals are awful drivers, you're end up in a traffic accident caused by some crazy Turkish driver the moment you pull out in your rented car"
If you are an experienced driver and have ever driven abroad before or in major cities such as London, New York, Rome etc. then you will be well adapt to driving in a city such as Istanbul. Basically, if you are a competent driver in your own country, then you should not experience any problems.
Turkish DriversThe locals tend to be impatient drivers, especially at traffic lights. Expect a toot from the cars behind even before the traffic light turns green. This is not meant to be aggressive. In addition some Turkish drivers may not leave enough space between cars and you may encounter unexpected stops or turns without signaling from local road users.
The Turkish government has made great attempts to reduce traffic accidents and have implemented government safety driving campaigns.
The two-lane highways have become, or are becoming, safer four-lane divided highways ensuring the main roads are wide, smooth and easy to drive.
2) "There are no rules of the road in Turkey; they don’t even stop at red lights..."
Turkish drivers do abide by traffic rules. The vast majorities of drivers are courteous and obey the usual rules of the road. They will stay in their own lanes, stop at red traffic lights, heed to speed restrictions, use car signals and will rarely got too close to your vehicle.
Horn TootingJust remember that use of the horn is endless in Turkey. You will hear horns being used constantly, but do not let it worry you. They are used to letting other road users know that they are there or the traffic lights are about to change, they're about to overtake or they’re about to turn etc. It is simple courtesy.
Foreign motorists tend to get irate at being "honked at", whereas in Turkey drivers will not be offended.
Remember to be cautious when stopping at a pedestrian crossing. Vehicles in Turkey tend to not stop at pedestrian crossings, so you could be likely to get rear ended from the car behind if you do.
Traffic control speed cameras have been installed on many highways and at the entrances and exits of cities and towns. Offences caught on camera are subject to penalties. The fines can be very expensive.
3) "Don’t bother driving, you're just get lost.."
Be prepared before you set out on your journey, buy a map or use a GPS device.
Signage on the roads and motorways is very clear and always indicate the next major town. There are multiple petrol stations and rest points/eateries along all roads and highways in Turkey.
4) "I don’t speak or read Turkish so I cannot possibly drive there...."
Turkish drivers are very forgiving: they expect foreign drivers to make mistakes and most will be very happy to help.
Explanation of road sign colors
Green - is the expressway color - which is almost always toll roads.
Blue - indicates the toll-free highways.
White - directions inside cities or exits signs
Brown is an indication of a touristic site.
Turkish Highway & Bridge Toll In Turkey the toll highways and bridges operate on a High-Speed Toll System, Hızlı Geçiş Sistemi – HGS. Which basically means that you cannot pay the highway or bridge tolls with cash or credit card. You need to obtain an HGS registration sticker/label or an HGS registration card which is displayed in your front windshield/windscreen,, this applies whether your vehicle is private or rented.
You can purchase this from any post office – PTT for 10TL.
You must then pay a minimum of 30TL credit on your HGS account to be used for payment of tolls.
List of tollbooths and prices on Turkish highways
Major cities in Turkey - road maps
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