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CAR & MOTORCYCLE

Driving around Turkey gives you unparalleled freedom to enjoy the marvelous countryside and coastline. You can stop at the teeny roadside stalls selling local specialties, explore back roads leading to hidden villages and picnic at every opportunity just like locals. Road surface and signage is generally good along main roads at least -the most popular route with travelers,along the Aegean and Mediterranean coast, offers excellent driving conditions. Hiring a scooter to explore the rugged Hisaronu Peninsula of the Western Mediterranean is a day out you'll cherish long after you've recovered from the knuckle-whitening corners.

The bad news is that Turkey has one of the world's highest motor-vehicle accident rates. Turkish drivers are not particularly discourteous but they are impatient and incautious. They like to drive at high speed and have an irrepressible urge to overtake. To survive on Turkey's highways, drive cautiously and very defensively and never let emotions affect what you do. Avoid driving at night when you won't be able to see potholes, animals on the road or even vehicles driving with their lights off.

When you are planning your trip, be mindful that Turkey is a huge country and spending time in the car traveling huge distances will eat up your travel time. Consider planes, trains or buses to cover long distances and hiring a car for localised travel.

Automobile Associations

 

Turkey's main motoring organisation is the Turkiye Turing ve Otomobil Kurumu (Turkish Touring & Automobile Association; www.turing.org )

Motorcyclist may want to check out One More Mile Riders Istanbul (www.ommriders.com ),a community resource for riding in Turkey and the Turkey related information on Horizons Unlimited (www.horizonsunlimited.com/country/turkey/ ).

Bring your own Vehicle

You can bring your vehicle into Turkey for 6 months without charge. However, the fact that you brought one in with you will be marked in your passport to ensure you take it back out again. Don't plan on selling it here and be prepared to be changed a hefty fine for any time over the 6 months. Ensure you have your car registration and insurance policy on you. If you don't have insurance you will need to buy it at the border.

 

Driving Licence

 

Drivers must have a valid driving licence will be sufficient; an international driving permit is useful but not required.

 

Fuel & Spare Parts

 In Turkey there is a little difference in price between süper benzin (normal petrol) and kurşunsuz (lead-free); both cost around €1.6 per litre. You can usually pay with credit cards at petrol stations.

There are petrol stations everywhere, at least in Western Turkey, and many are mega  enterprises. All the same it is a good idea to have a full tank when you start out in the morning across the vast empty spaces of Central and Eastern Anatolia .

Yedek Parçaları (spare parts) are readily available in the big cities, especially for European models such as  Renaults, Fiats and Mercedes-Benz. However, ingenious Turkish mechanics contrive to keep all manner of US models in daily service. Repairs are usually quick and cheap. Roadside repair shops can often provide excellent, virtually immediate service,although they (or you) may have to go somewhere else to get the parts. For tyre repairs find an oto lastikçi (tyre repairer). The sanayi bölgesi (industrial zone) on the outskirts of every town will have repair shops.

  It's always wise to get an estimate of the repair cost in advance. Repair shops are usually closed on Sunday. 

If you bring your motorcycle to Turkey you are bound to have a fine time. Spare parts may be hard to come by everywhere except the big cities so bring what you might need or rely on the boundless ingenuity of Turkish mechanics to find adapt or make you a  part.If you do get stuck for a part you could also ring an Istanbul or Ankara repair center and get the part delivered by bus. Horizons Unlimited (https://www.horizonsunlimited.com/country/turkey) has a list of repair centres in Istanbul.

Hire

You need to be at least 21 years old with a year’s driving experience to be able to hire  a car. If you don't pay with a major credit card you will have to leave around € 500 cash deposit. Most hire cars have standard (manual) transmission; you will pay more for automatic transmission. Note that most of the big name companies charge a €100 to €140 drop-off fee (eg pick up in Antalya,and drop-off in Dalaman)

You can hire a car from the big international companies (Avis, Budget,Europcar, Hertz and National)in all main cities, towns and most airport. Avis (www.avis.com.tr )has the most extensive network of agencies but Europcar (www.europcar.com ) is often the best value for money aunt doesn't charge a drop-off fee and there are also recommended local companies.

If your car incurs any accidents damage, or if you calls any do not move the car before finding a police officer and asking for a kaza raporu (accident report). The officer may ask you to take a breath-alcohol test. Contact your car hire company within 48 hours. Your insurance may be void if it can be shown that you were operating under the influence of alcohol or other drugs were speeding or if you did not submit the required accident report within 48 hours.

The total cost of standard tire vehicle arranged during the summer months (for a week with unlimited kilometres, including tax and insurance) ranges  from €400 to €500. Daily hire is from €40 to €70, depending on the size and type of car and the hire location. Hiring on the spot tends to be cheaper than booking ahead but you run the risk of there not being any cars available. Baby seat hire is usually available for around €5.50 per day.

 

Insurance

You must have third-party insurance valid for the entire country (not just for Thrace or European Turkey or it Turkish policy purchased at the border.

If you hire a car there will be two types of mandatory insurance included in the fee, the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) which covers damage to the hire car or another the Theft Protection (TP) insurance. Personal accident insurance is usually optional; you may not need it if your travel insurance from home covers the costs of an accident.

 

Parking

Parking around the country is fairly easy to find you can find parking even in the largest cities-Istanbul Ankara Izmir Antalya and so on- though in some cases it may be a short walk from your accommodation.

Top-end and a handful of mid range hotels offer undercover parking for guests, and most mid-range and budget options have a roadside parking place or two that is nominally theirs to use. If they don't car parking will be closed by in an empty block overseen by a caretaker or on the road, in which case it will be free or you will be required to pay an hourly rate to a fee collector. Your best bet is to ring your accommodation and upon arrival ask them to point out the nearest and / or cheapest option.

Note that car clamping is a fact of life in Turkey. Park in the wrong place and you risk having your car towed away, with the ensuing costs and hassle.

Road Conditions

That are good otoyols (motorways) from the Bulgarian border near Edirne to Istanbul and Ankara and from Izmir all the way around the coast to Antalya. Elsewhere roads are being steadily upgraded, although they still tend to be worse in the east. Severe winters play havoc with the surfaces and it's hard for the highways department to keep up with the repairs.

If driving in winter be careful of icy roads. In bad winters you will need chains on your wheels almost everywhere except along the Aegean and Mediterranean coast and the police may stop you in more remote areas to check that you are properly prepared for emergencies.

if driving from Istanbul to Ankara you should be aware of a nasty fog belt around Bolu that can seriously reduced visibility even in summer.

 

Road rules

In theory, Turks drive on the right and yield to traffic approaching from the right. In practice, they often drive in the middle and yield to no-one. Be prepared for drivers overtaking on  blind curves. If a car approaches from the opposite direction, all three drivers slam on the brakes and pray.

The international driving signs are there but rarely observed. Maximum speed limits, unless otherwise posted, are 50 km / h in towns, 90 km / h on highways 130 km / h maximum (40 km / h minimum) otoyols.

As there are only a few divided highways and many two-lane roads are serpentine you must reconcile yourself to spending hours crawling along behind slow,seriously overladen trucks. Try to avoid driving at night but if you do expect to encounter cars without lights or with light missing, vehicle stopped in the middle of the road and oncoming drivers flashing their lights just to announce their approach.