Amazingly, the number of cars on Istanbul‘s streets has increased faster than its population, putting an incredible strain on infrastructure.
But for the most part, the words usually used are "infuriating","shambolic" and "nightmarish". For those uninitiated to Turkey‘s complex motor network, let us give you a little introduction.
Given that Turkey‘s roads are so chaotic and unpredictable, it's apt to compare them to the post-apocalyptic future filled with uncompromising road warriors of Mad Max. Campy leather and mohawks aside, Turkey's traffic congestion and road safety concerns are a constant thorn in the hide.
The Turkish government has been left scratching its head over how to combat the problem. They have even given this menace a name: ‘Trafik Canavari‘, or ‘Traffic Monster‘. Unfortunately, it's not a traffic monster in the literal sense: (Which would be awesome)
Combined with Istanbul‘s road congestion is the problem that by and large, Turkish drivers tend to be haphazard on the road – to say the very least.
Described by some travellers as 'unpredictable', 'impatient', 'aggressive' and 'sweary' – they haven‘t been exactly tarred with a light brush.
Now, don‘t get us wrong, it‘s not to say that all drivers in Turkey are hell-bent lunatics looking only to seek chaos and destruction. But it is worth noting some of their more dubious habits.
But getting serious for a second – Turkey‘s roads are a big problem. In 2016, there were 1,185,128 road accidents. 7300 people were killed and 303,812 were injured.
Adding danger to the ‘demolition derby‘ attitude of motorists is the poor standard of road construction in Turkey. Slippery road surfaces, poor design, and poor materials have contributed to the high death toll.
The answer to this question is fairly simple and is generally agreed upon by most travellers: Not unless you really, really have to. Turkey‘s public transportation systems, especially in the larger centers, are more than adequate to get around. If you are heading out into regional areas, this is the only time you should really consider a hire car.
But even then, it‘s difficult. Turkey‘s highways are just as dangerous as the city roads. Motorists scream around blind corners, overtake in dangerous situations, and generally drive in a fashion that would turn the knuckles of even the toughest professional driver white.
Driving after dark is a nightmare, with very little in the way of street lighting or guard rails on mountain roads. And don‘t expect Turkish drivers to turn their lights on at night.
If you do decide to go for a hire car, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
If you are legally allowed to drive in Turkey, and you have an accident, your chances of having a claim for medical expenses paid are good, as long as you haven't broken any laws (like drink driving, or not obeying the local road rules). Cover is not provided for personal liability while you're driving/riding a vehicle.
You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.