Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Turkey?
Driving the highways in Turkey is a pleasant experience but if you get stuck in city traffic or have to slow down on rural roads which are full of potholes it is not so great. Turkey's motorways are more like our dual carriageways and are often full of trucks and lorries which you are less likely to see on the rural roads.
Drivers in Turkey can be a bit unpredictable so you would do well to try to second guess them and proceed with caution. Driving is on the right with overtaking on the left. Care should be taken when turning as following vehicles may try to overtake you at the same time.
Avoid driving at night as many roads are unlit and can have hidden dangers. Mountain roads often do not have guard rails and can be dangerous at night.
Horns are used deliberately by drivers. If you are not sure whether to go or not at a traffic light then the sound of horns will let you know. For all the inconveniences, the experience of exploring Turkey by car will be well worth any hassles you encounter while driving.
Seat Belt Laws
Everyone in a car must be wearing a seatbelt as soon as the engine is started – failure to do so incurs a fine.
Drinking and Driving
There is zero tolerance of alcohol in the blood of a driver in Turkey – a move that was introduced to counter the terrible number of road deaths. You must not drink any alcohol if you intend to drive afterwards. The penalties are stiff and could see you held in a not very pleasant Turkish jail.
Must Have Documents
You will need to have both parts of your driving licence; paper and card, and proof of motor insurance preferably with a green card. If you don't have a photo card you'll need an international driving licence.
Speed limits are as follows on Turkish roads:
50 kilometres per hour in built up areas.
90 kilometres per hour on open roads.
120 kilometres per hour on motorways.
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 18 to be able to drive in Turkey if driving a locally registered car. If you are driving a car registered abroad, the minimum age is 17. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 21 but with some companies, it's 23. You may also need to pay a young driver premium.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Safety camera warning devices are illegal in Turkey and there's now a trend for taking down the signs that warn of impending speed cameras.
On the Spot Fines
On the spot fines are very common for minor traffic offences and speeding. If you do not have cash on you, you'll be taken to a bank or cash machine. If you still can't pay your car will be impounded until you find a means.
Child Safety Rules
In Turkey, no child under the age of twelve can travel in the front of a car. Instead, they must be secured using an age and size appropriate restraint in the rear of the car. Ask when booking your hire car and we will supply the appropriate restraint for your family.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in Turkey and you'll need to be able to prove you have it with your insurance certifcate and preferably, a green card from your insurance company.
Rules of the Road
Standard European driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
You must have two warning triangles in you car and place them up to 30m in front and behind your car and have your hazard warning lights lit if involved in an accident or if you break down.
You must have a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher too.
You must use headlamp deflectors if using a UK car.
You must give way to the right at intersections.
You should only use your horn to warn of danger.
During the day you must drive using dipped headlights
All that is required is the use of common sense making sure other drivers know that you are engaged in towing.
Safety cameras are common in Turkey, both mobile and fixed devices. Whilst warning signs were used to tell drivers where cameras are placed, these are slowly being removed so you will need to keep to the limit at all times.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
Using a phone whilst driving in Turkey is illegal despite many drivers doing so. You will receive an on the spot fine for doing so.
In many parts of Turkey, parking is available just about everywhere, all you'll need to do is to make sure you aren't causing an obstruction. In the cities you'll find parking lots and garages with machines or more likely parking attendants. In the commercial parts of the main cities you'll find parking meters and ticket machines. Areas where parking isn't allowed are clearly marked with signs and yellow or red lines on the road or kerb.
Paid parking can be in dusty lots, garages or by meter or ticket machine in parking bays. There are usually plenty of signs to indicate parking restrictions.
Enforcement of parking is done by the police and you'll get a ticket to be paid at the local police station or bank. If you're causing an obstruction, your car is likely to be towed.
In Turkey, the disabled blue badge scheme is rarely recognised although it's becoming more common. Check locally what the benefits are but we would recommend you simply ask for assistance when you park your car, choosing a parking area where there is an attendant. They will usually be very helpful, especially if a small tip is forthcoming!
Motor Way Signs
Motorway signs are blue with white writing.
Bozuk satih - Rough surface
Dikkat - Attention
Dur - Stop
Park yapilmaz - No parking
Tamirat - Roadworks
Giremez - No entry
Tek yon - One way
Yavas - Slow
Yaya gecidi - Pedestrian crossing
Yol kapali - Road closed
I have broken down - Ben bozuldu
Where is the police station? - Nerede polis karakolu?
I have a flat tyre - Ben düz bir lastik var
I have been in an accident - Ben bir kaza olmuştur
Where is? - Nerede?
Where can I buy petrol? - Ben benzin nereden satın alabilirim?
In Turkey traffic lights follow the rules of the Vienna convention so there should be no confusion. You may find drivers going through red lights sometimes which is illegal but you need to be aware of this common occurrence and proceed with caution. If you are doing something wrong at traffic lights, you'll soon be aware of it from the horns blaring at you from behind.
Seven Turkish motorways have tolls but they're not very expensive. The huge distance between Istanbul and Ankara only incurs a charge of €12.50. Tolls are collected in cash at booths as you leave the motorways.
The traffic police are on 154. If you need driving advice visit the website of The Turkish Touring and Automobile Club - www.turing.org.tr or call them on (212) 282 8140.
The standard European emergency number of 112 also applies in Turkey
The United States Embassy in Turkey for Ankara is located at 110 Atatürk Blvd, Kavaklıdere, 06100, and you can call (90-312) 455-5555.
Their website is http://turkey.usembassy.gov/contact.html
The British High Commission in Turkey is located at Şehit Ersan Caddesi 46/A
Çankaya and you can call 0312 455 3344.
Their website is http://ukinturkey.fco.gov.uk/en/
What to do in an emergency
If you have a problem with your car you should phone the number given to on the rental documents or attached to the windscreen of your car. If you are driving your own vehicle, use your emergency assistance company's partner in Turkey.
In the event of an accident you should call the police on 112 if it is serious or the traffic police on 154 if it is a minor accident. You will need a report from them for your insurance company. Whilst awaiting their arrival, take photographs of the scene and take the names, addresses and telephone numbers of witnesses. If it is safe to do so, don't move the vehicles.
As of April 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Turkey is £1.36 whilst diesel is £1.31. Prices can vary between the coastal resorts and the main cities.