Friday, 19 December 2008

Terror on the roads

While there were obvious attractions to remaining in Fethiye for the whole holiday, we had planned to explore further afield and so K & C had hired a car for 3 days. This is much more courageous than you might suppose, unless you have had the experience of seeing how the Turks drive.

The first thing you learn, as a pedestrian, is that you are invisible. I am not entirely sure what function a zebra crossing has in Turkey: maybe it is simply designed to keep all the casualties tidily in one place. Certainly, anyone who assumes that because there is a pedestrian crossing that the traffic may stop for them is in for a sudden and nerve-wracking surprise.

When you get into a car, you realise that a similar laissez-faire attitude applies to most other rules of the road as well. Over taking is, it would seem, permitted anywhere. I assume that the ‘no-overtaking’ signs are some sort of national disclaimer – it’s not so much that you can’t over take, just that you have only yourself to blame if things go wrong. Overtaking the van which is overtaking the truck which is going up the steep hill approaching the blind bend is also popular, and of course mopeds are free to drive either way along any road.

After travelling for a while, however, you start to notice that the chaos is slightly more organised than first appears. People drive right over in the right hand gutter, which makes the overtaking easier, and no doubt it helps that there are many fewer drivers than there are here in the UK (at least, a lot fewer per square mile…)

But I wouldn't want to drive, and my admiration for my sister for doing so increases by leaps and bounds. (And worryingly, she adopted the Turkish attitude to driving remarkably quickly and enthusiastically)


EmilyLady said...

I would like to live in the city someday (soon) ... so that I could walk or take the Subway. I don't think I ever want to drive, although I don't doubt that I'll have to one day.


Marjorie said...

I can understand that, although I find it has it's advantages too - and there is something to be said for being in control of the vehicle yourslef, rather than have to trust someone else's driving! (I felt pretty safe with Kat driving, but I have at least one friend I won't go in a car with unless I'm driving, as I just don't feel safe!)

Dragonsally said...

I've always wondered how people survive driving in those chaotic situations. Probably safer in a vehicle than on foot though from what you say!

Marjorie said...

Sally, The wierd thing is, it seems to work!

Maybe because most of it is'n't happening very fast. But the first few times you go out you feel as though you ought to check your will is up to date before you step off the pavement.