Turkish Traffic Roundabouts

Traffic circles/roundabouts are common in Turkey, and they do not operate like those in the USA, UK and some other countries.

You will encounter roundabouts at many city and highway intersections, sometimes controlled by traffic signals (lights), sometimes not.

Unlike in Europe and North America, traffic in the roundaboutdoes not have right of way!

Traffic going straight through the roundabout and continuing in the same direction or turning right may do so, but traffic turning left enters the roundabout, goes 1/4 of the way around, then stops and waits until the way is clear to continue.

Thus, if you intend to turn left, you should be in the left (or perhaps middle) lane before you turn. If you plan to go straight or turn right, the right lane is best.

In heavy traffic, cars may stack up in the roundabout, sometimes blocking the flow of through traffic.

This system worked alright 40 years ago when Turkey had few cars but now, when Turkey produces millions of cars—and new drivers—each year, it can fail. The roundabouts clog. Tempers flare.

New, larger highway roundabouts are being built, some of which are designed and marked to operate on the traditional European and North American method whereby traffic in the roundabout has priority, and traffic entering the roundabout must wait until traffic in the roundabout has cleared.

Crash!

A driver expecting the traditional Turkish system does not notice the signs, expects traffic in the roundabout to stop, and smashes right into another car.

Be careful in roundabouts! Establish eye contact with other drivers if possible, and watch for hand signals.

Remember that two conflicting systems—and sets of drivers—are at work here, and patience and forbearance are necessary to prevent accidents.

—by Tom Brosnahan


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