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Traffic regulations in Turkey

The main rule of the road in Turkey is to be careful and remain calm. The locals drive quite aggressively often ignoring the traffic regulations and honking their horns for any reason. Just be ready for situations when pedestrians cross the road in the wrong places and drivers don’t switch on their turn signals or overtake on the right.

The basic traffic regulations

Speed limits: 50 km/h within towns, 90 km/h outside towns, 120 km/h on toll roads in Turkey.

Drivers should switch on the low beam only in low visibility conditions or when driving through tunnels.

All passengers must ride buckled up.

Children under 1.5 m tall and weighing up to 36 kg can only ride in the rear seat. A special child restraint system is required for passengers under 135 cm tall.

Drivers can only talk on the mobile phone without using their hands. 

The maximum permitted blood alcohol content is 0.5 ppm.

Road signs comply with international standards and are duplicated in English. Except for:

  • Instead of the usual “STOP” sign, you will see a similar “DUR” sign. The meaning of the sign is the same; 
  • The “No Parking” sign looks the same but the similar sign with a white background means that parking is allowed for a limited time only;
  • When you enter a town or a city, you will see a sign showing not only the name but also the number of inhabitants of that town or city;
  • The signs warning of ascents and descents don’t show the angle of incline.
  • The “D” sign marks a bus stop. You can’t park there.

You should drive very carefully when it’s dark, raining or snowing. Local drivers often drive without switching on sidelights or turn signals and can stop in the most unexpected places.

Tourists can use their driving licence in Turkey for 6 months from the date of entry. 

Every time you cross the border, your foreign driving licence validity period is reset and you can drive with it for another six months.

If you plan to stay in the country for more than 6 months, you will need to get a Turkish driving licence. To do it, you should go to the Civil Registration Office (Nüfus Müdürlüğü) with the required documents and file an application.

Traffic police

The police officers are dressed in blue uniforms and their cars have distinctive white and blue body colours. You can be stopped even if you haven’t broken any rules: 

  • to check your driving licence;
  • during an anti-terrorist operation;
  • to check your blood alcohol content;

The blood alcohol content is mainly checked only in areas with many pubs and restaurants. You had better not refuse a breath test, or you may be automatically deemed drunk. 

And you had better not try to “negotiate a fine without a ticket”. It is not about exceptional honesty of Turkish police. In fact, you will pay less “legally” than through “negotiations”. Even with the fairly high local fines.

Violations and fines

  • Unfastened seat belt - 436 TRY (~€16).
  • Using a mobile phone while driving - 51 TRY (~€34).
  • Speeding:
    • by 10-30% - 951 TRY (~€34);
    • by 30-50% - 1,979 TRY (~€70);
    • over 50% - 4,064 TRY (~€144).
  • Driving through a red traffic light - 951 TRY (~€34).
  • Disregard of road markings - 4,064 TRY (~€144).
  • Driving without a license - 8,190 TRY (~€290).
  • Drink driving - 4,064 TRY (~€144).
  • Drugged driving - 20 977 TRY (~€743).

How to pay the fine

If the police officer issued a paper penalty charge notice (PCN), you can pay the fine yourself at the tax office, post office or a branch of a Turkish bank.

If you have a local tax identification number (issued with your residence permit), you can pay online on the revenue administration website.

If you pay the fine within the first 15 days, you can get a 25% discount.

Only the owner of the car can check the fines from cameras. If there are fines, the rental company will let the renter know, show a statement with the date of the offence, and advise on payment options.

Payment of fines for traffic offences is the responsibility of the renter.

If the renter does not pay the fine, the rental company can sue the renter. When leaving or re-entering the country, the renter will have to repay the debt with interest.

Rent a car in Turkey