Driving in Turkey;a pleasure?


 Driving in Turkey is hardly a pleasure. It's  a shame because there are some beautiful views on the Turkish Mediterranean coast, which can be totally missed if you're concentrating on driving( which you should be of course) and that's an important part of any Turkey holidays.The most obvious fact is that they drive on the right hand side of the road. Once you've adapted-if in deed you need to- to having the steering wheel  and pedals on the left side of your vehicle, you are then faced with a road layout which may be slightly different to what you're used to.

driving in Turkey.Turkey-holidays-made-easy.com

The first thing you'll possibly notice is the narrow "lane " on the curb-side. This is very important. It is not an inside lane, nor is it a hard shoulder. I would best describe it as a UTILITY lane. It's basically there for improvised driving in Turkey. The inner lane is somewhat wider than a cycling lane, though it can vary considerably depending on the available space. It is just wide enough to be totally abused.

    It's main use  is for filtering in to busy roads from junctions or slipways. A lot like joining a motorway but on minor and "A" roads as well as major highways. You should pull out to the main lane when the opportunity arises. Be wary; drivers will pull out onto this slipway with little regard for approaching traffic, causing you to slow down or pull out wider.

   The more important use from my point of view, is when leaving the carriageway to turn left. In many countries you would stop in the middle of the carriageway and wait for a break in the on-coming traffic to make your left turn. When driving in Turkey this is not always the safe thing to do. Other drivers will harass you and overtake you on the inside and even the outside, but oncoming traffic may also be overtaking on YOUR side of the road!! It can be a little frightening.


  When driving in Turkey the safest option when turning left is to pull in to the inner curb-side lane, and wait for a break in the traffic before indicating your left turn and moving out to complete the manoeuvre as quickly  and effectively as possible.

   Speed limits are constantly ignored by many Turkish drivers,& others, so don't hesitate to pull in to this lane to give them a little more room, but check no-one is taking you on your inside.

Driving in Turkey.Turkey-holidays-made-easy.com

The vehicle above has eased into the inner lane to allow overtaking,but get back into the main lane when possible or you can get blocked in.

Legal requirements

 When driving in Turkey you have some specific legal requirements.

  • You need to keep your driving license  with you when driving; either your national license or an international driving license.
  •  Carry a copy of your passport details. The original is better but  this is not very secure as you risk losing it.
  • If bringing a vehicle into Turkey you need the vehicle registration papers, an International green Insurance Card, which should be visible.
  • Carnet de passage if you intend travelling beyond Turkey.

  • If hiring a vehicle the registration and insurance documents are usually kept in the glove box or above the sun visor. You will need these and your license if you're involved in an accident. It is imperative that you hire vehicles from a reputable business  to ensure the insurance cover is adequate.
  •     By law you should also carry a reflective hazard warning triangle , fire extinguisher and a first aid kit.

Other Legalities

In general, when driving in Turkey you are subject to similar laws as in much of Europe and the UK.

  • Speed limits:

           120kmph on intercity major motorways

           90 kmph on most out of town major roads

           50 to 70kmph on most urban roads

           20/30kmph around school areas


  • Drink driving in Turkey: the limit is  0.5 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood. That is less than the UK limit. This applies only to  "compact" vehicles with no passengers. Otherwise the limit is 0.0.

Obviously it's not worth risking  an offense, but don't assume that because you are in a predominantly Muslim country other drivers will not be under the influence of alcohol. Always drive defensively.

  • It is illegal to drive while  on your mobile phone. You would not think this is the case, as many taxi drivers, mini bus drivers and individuals,  blatantly ignore this law.                                                                                     

The Highway Code

This is where driving in Turkey gets  difficult. Rules of etiquette, common sense, safety first, and the law, just go out of the window. Long lists have been compiled of all the things that happen, or don't happen, or should happen when driving. The list is endless but include:

  • Jumping red lights is a big favourite.
  • Overtaking on the inside is common.
  • Pulling out of junctions right in front of you.
  • Indicating seems to be optional.
  • Driving in the wrong direction seems preferable to going all the way around.(Motor scooters & bikes are notorious for this).        Pedestrians must also be very wary.You must check both left & right when crossing as scooters & bikes appear from nowhere.     
Driving in Turkey.turkey- holidays-made easy.com s

Most road signs follow the international standard.Unfortunately,many Turkish drivers prefer to ignore signs.

 Whatever you can possibly imagine happens on Turkey's roads. The guiding principle when driving in Turkey  is

Drive defensively and expect the unexpected.

  Fortunately, the Turkish Mediterranean region is not as  challenging as Istanbul or Ankara, but you still need your wits about you at all times.

driving in Turkey.Turkey -holidays-made-easy.com.

A less familiar sign to most,although it's meaning is clear.Yavas means "slow down" in Turkish.You might wish to remember this when you are in a taxi or transfer bus!!!!

The other main sign you need to recognise is DUR, which means STOP. Again, many drivers will ignore this and you should not assume your right of way will be respected."Expect the unexpected".

driving in Turkey.Turkey -holidays-made-easy.com.Turtles are common around belek

Not really turtles.The woodland area around the beaches & golf courses in Belek & Kadriye are a conservation area for TORTOISES.Unfortunately they do get through the fences & onto the busy main road,with obvious consequences.

Drive defensively but be positive when you need to. And do not assume anything. There is so much to be aware of , but if I could give only one bit of advice it would be

 Do not assume a green light means it is safe to proceed. Be particularly careful when crossing intersections as many drivers try to run red lights and your view is often blocked by landscaping, as in this picture.

driving in Turkey.Turkey -holidays-made-easy.com.

More signs than you can shake a stick at.But these carriageway crossing points are extremely dangerous.Don't assume your right of way.Edge out slowly until you can see the road you are entering.

  Driving in Turkey can be stressful,but with great care you can get around to many of the great sites you might want to see on your Turkey holidays.

   However,you can get to most places around the Turkish Mediterranean by coach, dolmus(mini-bus) or by taxi.Certainly places like Antalya & Alanya are more enjoyable if you don't have the hassle of driving & all that it entails; parking,navigating etc.Getting around on your Turkey holidays is easy.

To book your Fairways Villa16 holiday,contact  Jeff at :


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