Friday, July 28, 2006

When in Rome...drive Turkish style


Wow! I can see my last post on Turkey and my tribulations here, really moved you guys - judging by the endless amount of comments. ;-( I'm sorry, but today, it's Turkey again - and a bit of an informative rant. If you ever decide to drive here, you'll have been warned!

*For those of you who don't read French, "DUR" means hard or difficult, which is exactly how the Turks relate to "STOP"

After nearly two months of driving on Turkish roads, I can safely say I understand why this country has one of the highest death rates due to traffic accidents.
I had read a lot about the aggressive driving. Well that’s the understatement of the year! Aggressive, can do, but stupid? Lawless? Suicidal?

Signaling before turning is rare. Most drivers signal only after having slammed on the breaks, if they signal at all – perhaps the Turks have secretly invented telepathy and not yet informed the rest of the world?

Ah, and what are those little mirrors on either side of the car for again?


Honking away seems to be a national tradition; Preferably at a driver who has - oh the sin! - stopped at a red traffic light (although, they will also honk if you are at a standstill when it has turned to orange, and if it's already green, then you're in for an actual symphony of honks!)


Speaking of traffic lights; the meaning of RED does not seem to permeate the local psyche. You soon learn to look, especially when your traffic light has turned to green, before moving ahead. Actually, I'd like to hang on to my car and my life, if you don't mind...and I'm sorry that you do not care for the color red.


Monotonous the highways are not! It is not uncommon to see cars stopped in the middle of a lane (and I do mean the middle) for no apparent reason, or to encounter someone walking across the highway followed by a sheep or two.

Crossroad regulations have been simplified; priority goes to the bully, the bigger, the better.

Oh, and the lampposts you see on the highways? They're for show unless you're in a busy area of town or someone from the EU is around!


The worst of it is, after a while, you begin to feel like a fine moron when:
- you’re the only one to stop and wait for the traffic light to turn green; while every other car is rushing by you protesting loudly
- you’re lolling along the left lane behind an ancient looking vehicle (40 km/h at its peak) patiently flashing your headlights at him to move to the slower lane; when everyone else is just overtaking from the right

When in Rome…Right?
But you know what? Who cares who was right, if you're no longer around...


3 comments:

Serbwife said...

Oh Yugowife, I feel your pain!! It's not quite that bad in Serbia (although the parking in the middle of a lane does seem familiar) but seems that most of the world does need more driving lessons.

Safe travels!

Sandra said...

Thanks, I apprecaite the sympathy!
Actually, it seems that there are countries that make it mandatory for immigrants from countries where the death rate/accident rate on the roads is huge, to undergo local driving lessons and exams. Switzerland is one of these countries and I'm told that Serbs, Montenegrans, and Turks, to name a few, are kindly asked to take their driving exams again if they want mandatory car insurance....

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