Eid al-Fitr, signaling the end of the holy month of Ramadan, is marked by three days of vacation. This year's Eid is preceded by a Saturday, making a total of four days off. With the chance to visit relatives for an extended period of time or to go on vacation to tourist resorts, many people plan to travel to other cities, with heavy traffic predicted on the country's highways. Every year, hundreds of people are killed or injured in traffic accidents during religious or national holidays across Turkey.
According to data from the National Police Department, 172 people were killed and some 1,000 people were injured during the Eid holiday last year. The data also reveal that 691 people have died in traffic accidents during Eid al-Fitr holidays in the last six years in Turkey.
In order to decrease the loss of life and to prevent casualties caused by traffic accidents this year, the National Police Department's Traffic Control Bureau, which released a written statement on Thursday, has called on drivers to be extra cautious and warned them to take frequent breaks while driving. It stated that drivers should take 10-15 minutes breaks every hour-and-a-half or two hours, or take breaks every 100 kilometers in order to reach their destinations safely. “Drivers should not forget that children get tired or bored much more quickly than adults during journeys. Passengers should do exercises that will increase their blood circulation during the breaks. Drivers should wash their faces and should consume plenty of fluids, primarily tea and coffee, which will help keep sleep at bay,” the statement also reads.
The bureau also stated that drivers that travel alone should listen fast music that will keep them awake, and that drivers who travel with passengers should be careful not to become distracted from driving by talking. The bureau also warned the drivers not to use mobile phones while driving.
In a related development, the National Police Department warned people about possible traffic accidents a couple of days ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday by means of mobile phone text messages. Highlighting the role of excessive speed in the occurrence of traffic accidents, the National Police Department stated in text message: “Thousands of people die in traffic accidents each year in our country. Let's connect to happiness with safety, not speed during Eid.”
Meanwhile, the General Directorate of Highways has determined the places where traffic accidents occur most frequently in Turkey. Calling these places “black zones,” the General Directorate of Highways has warned the drivers to be extra cautious at 23 locations determined by the directorate. The directorate plans to conduct a project to resolve problems at these black zones in order to prevent traffic accidents as soon as possible.