My Shattered Chassis

Driving in Turkey is not for the faint hearted, best only tried by the foolish or the suicidal. Though much improved in recent years, many roads are still perilous with lunar potholes, boulder-sized loose chippings and chassis-shattering unmarked concrete speed bumps. All these hazards, however, pale into insignificance when compared to the insane driving of the locals. The basic rules of the unofficial Turkish Highway Code are straightforward enough – drive fast, jump lights, never indicate, overtake on blind bends, tailgate dangerously and sound the car horn loudly and often. It is also the ‘law’ to ignore pedestrian crossings (purely for street decoration and EU compliance inspectors), bounce a new born baby on your lap when weaving in and out of the traffic and yell down the mobile phone that has been surgically grafted to your ear. The rules are observed religiously. Obligingly, local municipalities even provide traffic lights that count down to green to encourage boy racers to champ at the bit to be first out of the traps. Unsuspecting foreigners need to keep their wits about them to preserve life and limb, particularly those like me who are genetically programmed to look the wrong way.

Conversely, it all adds to the wonderfully anarchic nature of the Turkish psyche and a healthy disrespect for authority which I have long admired. It’s also a welcome relief from health and safety obsessed Blighty.

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