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Mister John's Rules Of Driving In Turkey

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At a traffic intersection in Turkey, a green light and a stop sign on the same pole.This is from the book "Scotch and Holy Water," written by John D. Tumpane. John was an American contractor sent to work in various parts of  Turkey during the 1950s and 1960s.  The US government gave him a pamphlet called "The Traffic Rules of Turkey." But after John had been in country for a few years, he decided he was amply qualified to publish his own traffic rules. Here they are:

General Rules

1. The first shall be first, and the last shall be guilty. If you are entering a main artery from a side street, simply step on the gas and get there first. After the accident, the police will survey your car. If the damage is anywhere behind the headlights, you are innocent.

2. Always use your horn, not the brakes. Horns rarely wear out. Blow your horn with or without provocation—it wards off evil spirits.

3. Always aim right at a pedestrian crossing the street. If you slow down or swerve right or left, you will ruin his timing.

4. If the street is blocked, use the sidewalks—pedestrians never do.

5. Ignore stop signs. If you stop, you will be rammed from the rear.

6. When you go through an intersection, don't look to the right or left—otherwise you may be expected to give testimony later.

7. U-turns are permitted on any street—they save time and gas.

8. A one-way street simply means a narrow street. Use it in either direction. If you encounter a car coming at you, hold your ground or you will lose face. Turning off the ignition and reading a newspaper is very effective.

9. Always drive down the middle of the street so that you can attempt to avoid hitting anything. Dogs and cats are dispensable, but the Turks get a little sticky about chickens and children.

10. If you approach a traffic light which is red, stop only if there is a policeman hanging around. If you are the second car to approach, pull in front of the first. If you are the third car, pull in front of both. If you are the fourth car, pass on the right and pull in front of all of them. If you are driving a horse cart, pass the whole damn bunch and go right through the light. The policeman will only box your ears.

Country Driving

11. If you see a tractor approaching the highway, even a mile away, jam on your brakes and stop. He won't.

12. When approaching a down-grade, push in the clutch and turn off the ignition to save gas. This is particularly effective if you have others in the car, like visitors newly-arrived in Turkey.

13. If you sense something is going wrong with your engine, keep going until smoke starts pouring out of the hood and the car breaks down right in the middle of the road. It is not necessary to pull off the highway since there are no shoulders. Get out, open the hood, pull some wires, and then abandon it. Be sure to put a circle of rocks around your car to protect it.

14. If you are driving a truck and have a flat tire, come to a stop on the highway and unload the cargo in either lane. Jack up the truck, remove the wheel, and hitch a ride on a bus, since you won't have a spare tire.

Night Driving

15. When approaching an on-coming car at night, dim your lights at the last endurable moment. This is a form of "chicken." Then, seconds before you pass, flip on your high-beems so that you can see the road ahead. Spotlights may also be used in conjunction with this maneuver.

16. If you see an eerie green light, like a laser beam stretching across the highway, about three feet off the ground, jam on your breaks! Stop dead! It's a flock of sheep coming towards you. The green light is a reflection of the eyes of the sheep.

17. If you have to abandon your car or truck at night (breakdown or out of gas), don't leave your parking lights on as this will only run down the battery. Don't forget, however, to put the circle of rocks around the vehicle.

18. Finally, if you have an accident in Turkey, Allah forbid, you have just changed your career in life. Welcome to Turkey.

Happy Motoring!

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Where'd you find that cartoon? I have encountered cars broken down on the highway with rocks for warning signals -- no reflectors, just rocks! That was when I was stationed at Incirlik Air Base near Adana. Very different from the Aegean coast!

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Addendum to number 4: The sidewalk is also a perfectly acceptable place for parking. If the sidewalk is blocked by small concrete "mushrooms", simply remove them and lay them in the road before parking on the sidewalk.

Addendum to number 7: It is more efficient to make a u-turn in a pedestrian crosswalk that cuts through a traffic island than to drive the extra 200m to the intersectionNumber 19: No one shall drive a taksi unless concurrently smoking and talking on at least two cell phones. In addition, drinking çay or any other beverage is optional, but strongly recommended.

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I had seen a car with rocks around it on the road several miles past Gazipasa travelling south bound. As for the cartoon I simply Googled "car with rocks around it" and the cartoon popped up ! John's rules of driving in Turkey still apply.

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I see 'Redders' from TLF liked your post so much Ken that he copied it and posted on that forum. It was very popular. :D

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A lot of content from Turkey Central is copied and posted elsewhere, even in news articles. That's a real compliment for our members. Turkey Central is now the most popular English-language community about Turkey on the web. Another compliment for our members!

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