Driving in Turkey

As one living in Istanbul, I find driving here nothing short of horrific. I certainly get no pleasure driving here. In addition, the only road rules that seem to apply are the ones you make yourself. It’s not only driving on the roads I find a problem, but also in and around Bagdat Street near where I live. Despite residents complaining to the various authorities, it seems no one, Police or Belidiye is prepared to accept responsibility about the many motor cyclists, mainly delivery boys, riding through the pedestrians on the pavements. Apart from there riding on the pavements, they see nothing wrong in riding the wrong way down one-way streets. In addition, despite there being a law re excess traffic noise, nothing is done to enforce it, or about the law stating motor cyclists must wear crash helmets.

Due to Istanbul having a good road system with numerous motorways leading out of the city, traffic is fast and furious. Drivers make use of all lanes, in an attempt to reach their destinations in the shortest possible time.

It should be noted if coming to work here, traffic in Istanbul is getting worse each day. It can take over half an hour to cross one of the main bridges over the Bosphoros, and that is after spending around an hour in traffic leading to the bridges. In view of this, unless you like being stuck in traffic, try and live close to your place of work.

Another minus is that visitors to Turkey will find car-hire more expensive than in numerous countries, with petrol prices around the highest in the world.


In Istanbul, numerous drivers seem to think they can park wherever they want, with it nothing unusual for a driver to stop his car alongside a friend’s car and talk with them. At one time, this happened to a car ahead of one I was in. After blasting his horn for the driver to move without any response, the driver got out and walked up towards the car shouting at the driver. As he did, the driver of the parked car got out holding a large kitchen knife. The driver immediately retreated to his car, where he waited until the man got back in his car and drove off.

At one time, on finding a car parked across the pavement in front of me, I spoke to the nearby parking attendant. To my astonishment, he replied that he was afraid to say anything to the driver, as last time he did, the driver pulled out a gun.

In view of this, I advise to be careful what you might say to irresponsible drivers, as you cannot be sure of their response.

Although it is nothing unusual for a Turkish driver (male) to stop and pick up a person walking along the road, be warned that most Turkish drivers seem to think they are driving on a racetrack, and not on public roads.


The drink driving law in Turkey is strictly enforced, so if going out for an evening of drinking, use a taxi, or use a non-drinking driver.



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