Driving in Turkey is crucial if you want to do an in-depth exploration of this rich and fascinating country. This guide will help you to avoid fines and offenses when taking a road trip in Turkey and help you navigate safely between Mediterranean beaches, Aegean olive groves, and awe-inspiring World Heritage sites.
General Rules and Regulations
- The driver and all passengers must wear a seat belt at all times.
- Children under 12 must be seated in the rear seats.
- Cell phone use is prohibited unless you use a hands-free kit.
- The car horn is used liberally in Turkey but you are not permitted to sound your horn after 10 pm.
- Driving under the influence is a serious offense and no more than 0.05% will be tolerated.
- Emergency vehicles have priority and you must free the left lane on their approach to avoid obstructing them.
- Pay attention to parking signs carefully. Often there are particular restrictions that can change depending on the time of day and road conditions.
- Traffic flows from the right and pedestrians always have priority when crossing on the right. Pedestrians have priority at marked crossings.
Speed Limits in Turkey
Though speeding is common in Turkey it’s still a serious traffic infraction. The limit is highly variable but well signposted. In the absence of a sign, the speed limits below can generally be followed.
|Within city limits||50 km/h (31 mph)|
|Highways outside city limits||90 km/h (56 mph)|
|Motorways||120 km/h (75 mph)|
Overtaking, Turning and Parking
- In Turkey keep the left lane free for passing traffic.
- U-turns are allowed in Turkey. Generally, you will see “No U-Turn” signs where it is prohibited.
- Parking is generally only allowed in designated parking lots in residential areas. Parking is readily available and is generally well-signposted, in commercial districts on-street parking with meters is more common.
- Do not park where it is likely to cause an obstruction.
Driver’s License Requirements
You can use your U.S. driver’s license in Turkey for up to 6 months. In addition, it is highly recommended to organize an International Driver’s Permit. You can download the application forms from the American Automobile Association (AAA) or American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) website.
The road network in Turkey has vastly improved in recent years. Tolls are payable on most motorways and bridges, with the price per kilometer. You will usually take a ticket at the start of your journey, and can often pay in cash at the end, though be aware that in many places the system is changing and a KGS toll payment or automatic payment system is required. For more information, you can ask at the SIXT car rental branch you rent from.
In Turkey, you can use the European Emergency Number 112 for medical emergencies and the ambulance. For fires use 110, for the police use 155, and for the traffic police use 154.
Car Rental with SIXT in Turkey
We have a huge number of car rental locations throughout Turkey, located in cities from Ankara to Istanbul. It is a magnificent country for a rental car vacation with spectacular landscapes and a modern road network. Throughout the country, you can see architectural relics from a fascinating history that includes the Roman, Ottoman, and Byzantine eras. Throughout Istanbul, it is startling how many architectural treasures remain in great condition, from Byzantine palaces to Imperial mosques.
Outside of the cities, there is a long list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to explore. We highly recommend the geology and spa waters of Pamukkale, the startling Göreme National Park with the Rock Sites of Cappadocia, and the ancient ruins at Hattusha. And these are only a few things on a huge list to explore! The whole Mediterranean coastline of Anatolia is great for scenic car rental trips, here you can mix hikes with sunny days at the beach.