Thursday, 10 February 2022

My Two-Day Adventure From Ivankovo to Zdenci: Travel Connection Issues in Slavonia

February 10, 2022 - After World War II, a lot of people migrated from Dalmatia, Herzegovina, and more to Slavonia looking for better lives. They mostly traveled with coal-fired trains that would take a week to get to their destination. However, that was in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 21st century, in 2022, my trip to Zdenci, a village located in the east of Virovitica - Podravina County, took me two days by public transportation - train. A look into the travel connection issues in Slavonia in the 21st century.

Railways and trains, as public transportation and a part of the economy, always had a huge role in Croatian history. The first railways in the territory of today’s Republic of Croatia were built in the 19th century, which connected Međimurje with Hungary and Slovenia, only 35 years after the first railway was built in England. Croatia, which was part of the other reigns at that time, realized its potential as a favorable traffic center that connected Southern Europe with the West and more. Slavonia has become part of one of the most important railway tracks named Corridor X - a Pan-European line that goes through Vinkovci, a city that became one of the most important railway centers in Europe. Older workers fondly remember tons and tons of cargo going through Vinkovci and full trains which would transport passengers every 4 minutes. They also highlight the extended travel which was caused by worn-out railways which can’t withstand newer locomotive trains and that impact can be especially seen on Vinkovci - Zagreb line. Because of that, the consequences were inevitable and the most loyal passengers switched to other types of transport. 


Screenshot: Google Maps

Ivankovo being so close to Vinkovci benefited a lot in terms of connectivity and availability of lines and trains for traveling. Every hour there would be a train transporting to a specific destination. I have travelled by train my whole life. It is my favorite type of public transportation by far and still a huge part of life, not only mine but of every other resident of the Ivankovo district. 

Finally, this is how my adventure started. My friend from Osijek and I decided to visit a mutual friend who lives in Zdenci and the only time we could go was Saturday, which is a doomed day for public transportation in Croatia - lack of lines in all available public transportation. However, that didn’t stop us, this is it, we’re going, now or never. After exhausting brainstorming, I decided to come a day earlier to my friend’s place, sleep there and catch a morning train to Zdenci - Orahovica. That was the only train in the morning that traveled for an hour and a half to our destination. How? Well, the line is originally going to the city of Virovitica and it stops in the city of Našice where it stays for almost an hour?! In the end, it was less than that but before that, we didn't realize why we stopped for almost half an hour in a village called Koška. God only knows why, but apparently, we waited because of the other train that was coming back on the same railway? I still don’t know the reason why. 

After we finally started traveling again, there weren’t any obstacles in our way. We were finally coming to our destination. Unfortunately, there was another problem. Apparently, the station’s location isn’t in the city of Orahovica or the village of Zdenci, it’s in another village - Duga Međa. The walk to Zdenci, with half of the way without a footpath, takes approximately 40 minutes. Of course, we shrugged that possibility off and decided on a taxi which isn’t even in Orahovica or Zdenci - it’s in the village of Čačinci. Yes, another name of the place that even made our heads spin, I can only imagine the person reading this.

Back to the story. The taxi guy from Čačinci welcomed us, props to him, and drove us finally to our friend’s house. It was a great moment; we haven’t seen each other for over a year because of the pandemic and life in general. We talked, laughed, and hung out like the old times but the lack of public transportation had to cut our time together short. There was only one train available to Osijek around 3 pm that we couldn’t miss, because of my transportation home from Osijek to Vinkovci and friends' other plans. I traveled two days for two hours of socializing. It hurt so much. After slow travel to Osijek and finally coming to Vinkovci and realizing there isn’t any public transportation to Ivankovo after 3 pm, not even a bus (which is a discussion for another time), I took a taxi and paid another fee. I came home and my mother told me: “You traveled for two days to a place that takes an hour and a half by car, and hung out with your friends for two hours?! This looks like the 1960s, not 2020s.” And I looked at her and realized she was right.



Screenshot: Google Maps

In the end, one more realization popped up in my head. The amount of money I spent going to Zdenci by train, with taxi fees and everything else, I could’ve easily paid for a cheap, discount flight to another country or go to Dubrovnik or Split by plane, possibly, even a discount two-way ticket. This wasn’t cross-country travel, we were literally going to another Slavonian place, which yes, seems far but it’s truly not. From Ivankovo to Zdenci, traveling by car, on the D515 road, that goes by the city of Đakovo, takes around an hour and a half (82,4 kilometers). From Osijek to Zdenci, it takes an hour without traffic (around 70 kilometers) and the railway has the same route as the roads and it took four hours more, including the travel back. This isn’t how it was before. How can we travel longer in 2022 than in the 1980s?

Slavonia always lived on railway infrastructure - most of the people still work there. It’s still a huge factor in our lives and not everyone has the possibility to own a car and drive it wherever. The lack of passengers led to fewer railway lines but lack of investment and nonsense renovating led to fewer of those same passengers. After thinking about everything my friend and I went through to see our friend for two hours; I came to this conclusion: get money for a drivers' license and buy a car. Hopefully, the future brings positive changes; the old love for train travel comes back with passengers that spent their youths traveling in them and future youth start bringing back the reputation this part of Croatia always had - one of the most important railway hubs in Europe.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 3 September 2021

193 Traffic Fatalities in Croatia in First Eight Months of 2021

ZAGREB, 3 Sept 2021 - Croatia's road death toll rose by 19 or 10.9% to 193 fatalities in the first eight months of 2021 in comparison to the corresponding period of 2020, the interior ministry stated on Friday.

The ministry presented these data in a press release in which it called for additional caution in traffic during the new school year that starts on Monday.

One in four fatalities riders or passengers on mopeds and motorcycles

The ministry said that in the first eight months, 52 riders or passengers on mopeds and motorcycles lost their lives in road crashes, which means that they accounted for one in four fatalities.

One of the worrying indicators is that of the 55 car drivers or passengers who died in traffic accidents, 31 (56.4%) had not fastened their safety belts.

For more news, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Should 0,5 Remain Alcohol Limit For Drivers in Croatia? Istrian Winemakers Worried of Wine Industry Hit

April 13, 2021 - This year or no later than 2023, the new National Road Safety Plan 2020 to 2030 should be implemented in practice. The plan is so far just a proposal, and one of the suggestions is to reduce the so far allowed 0.5 alcohol limit for drivers in Croatia to 0.0.

However, as Goran Rihelj reports for Hr.Turizam, Istrian winemakers think that 0.5 should remain the upper limit as they fear this will be another blow to winemakers and winegrowers.

„With a corona crisis that has no end in sight and an average drop in wine sales in Istrian wineries of 30 percent, this could be an additional blow to our sector. Istria has positioned itself as a top end-gastro destination with the quality of wine and offer, and we believe that our country should harmonize the National Road Safety Plan with European wine countries such as Italy and France, where 0,5 is allowed, while in Great Britain, for example, 0,8“, said Nikola Benvenuti, President of Vinistra.

Istrian winegrowers and winemakers point out they advocate responsible alcohol consumption but think 0.0 should be the law only for young drivers (defined by the current law of Traffic safety as a driver of 24 years of age) and professional drivers.

Prof. dr. sc. Mladen Boban from the Medical Faculty in Split, who has been researching the biological effects of wine on health for years, says this change would contradict other action plans and strategic documents with whom Croatia plans to increase awareness of the general population about the benefits of Mediterranian cuisine.

"It should not be forgotten that moderate drinking of wine with food is one of the pillars of this diet with the relatively largest contribution to the beneficial effects on health. In this context, it is important to note that in 2013, at the initiative of Croatia and six other Mediterranean countries, UNESCO inscribed the Mediterranean diet in the intangible cultural heritage of mankind. The World Health Organization accepts the Mediterranean diet as an effective strategy for the prevention of non-communicable chronic diseases as the leading causes of premature death globally", Concluded Professor Boban for Hr.turizam.



In an article in 2019 Croatian Automobile Club magazine Revija HAK  reported that in the eight of the top fatal car crashes from 2016-2018, the leading cause was driving in the opposite direction, which happens due to driving too fast. The article also states that in the said period, 12.989 traffic accidents were caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol. In that number of traffic accidents, 235 persons were killed, and 1,709 were heavily injured, while light injuries due to "drink & drive" are owned to a number of 5,524 incidents. Statistically, drunk drivers are responsible for every fourth death, according to the article in Revija Hak.

In total, Croatia saw 883 traffic accidents with fatal consequences, and 955 people died in the 2016-2018 time spawn.

While winemakers and professor Boban advocate moderate drinking, sadly, the issue of actually respecting the current limit and personal limits of intoxication before sitting behind the wheel remains questionable for Croatian drivers. However, is reducing the allowed alcohol limit enough to make a difference remains unclear.

Learn more about Driving in Croatia on our TC page

For more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Friday, 4 September 2020

Police to Once Again Conduct Special Traffic Programme for Start of School Year

ZAGREB, September 4, 2020 - As the new school year is about to start, the police will once again conduct a special traffic programme to protect children which has been ongoing since 1995 and has resulted in significantly fewer deaths and injuries to children on Croatian roads.

Regardless of the positive trend, in the past ten years 66 children were killed in traffic and another 10,172 were injured, the Interior Ministry said on Friday.

Nevertheless, it is worrying that fifteen years ago most child victims were pedestrians while now they are passengers in vehicles while riding with their parents, even though these are the people they should be safest with.

The number of children killed in traffic has decreased by 40 percent, which in numbers means that this year three children were killed compared to five children in the same period last year. However, 3.4% more children were seriously injured in traffic while those sustaining mild injuries decreased by 24.8%. Most of these incidents involved children as passengers in cars.

The police appeal to parents to ensure that all children have their seat belts fastened in cars.


40,000 new participants in traffic

This year there will be about 40,000 children starting school, which means that many more participants in traffic, and the police, together with local authorities, will conduct special checks of roads and traffic signs in the vicinity of schools as well as stepping up speed checks.


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Monday, 30 December 2019

Croatian State Roads to Get Traffic Cameras: 'Big Brother' Expands

Watch how you drive in the Croatian countryside! Traffic 'big brother' is coming to state roads too. Forty new cameras will be installed throughout Croatia next year and camera traffic surveillance data will be collected and analyzed at a new center under construction in Karlovac.

Croatian State Roads Will Get Traffic Cameras Too

Following the widespread installation of police cameras and the introduction of motorway speed cameras, new traffic surveillance cameras will be coming to state roads next year, They will be used for traffic control and all data will be collected at the Središnji centar za upravljanje prometom (Central Traffic Management Center) in Karlovac, which is currently under construction, according to ŠibenikIN on December 26, 2019.

Two locations in each county will be under the watchful camera eye and more than 40 cameras will be installed on state roads next year. The footage will be collected at the Central Traffic Management Center, which has already received 6.5 million HRK (872,500 EUR) in funding.

Cameras Will Monitor Traffic 24 Hours a Day

The new cameras will allow traffic to be monitored 24 hours a day from a single application and will also capture vehicle license plate numbers. Croatian citizens, residents and tourists will have access to road and weather information on an app at any time of day to help plan travel.

"If someone wants to cross the border crossing at Kostajnica, they will be able to see a real-time image showing whether a line has formed at that border crossing and can choose an alternative less-crowded border crossing if necessary. Drivers can also see whether there is a line at a traffic light in Varaždin, for example," Slaviša Babić of Hrvatske ceste (Croatian Roads) explains.

Traffic Violators Will Not Face Prosecution

Although the new cameras will record speeders and drivers who run through red lights, the surveillance technology will not be used to prosecute drivers.

"This again demonstrates an overall lack of coordination and systemic accountability, because non-sanctioned surveillance will not be as effective as it could be. This surveillance camera technology is only being used at ten percent of its potential," explains Željko Marušić, a traffic expert.

The test phase of the project is expected to be complete in October next year, and by 2025 cameras will be deployed at 300 locations throughout Croatia, HRT reports.

Follow our Travel page for developments regarding transportation infrastructure and travel destinations in Croatia.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Croatian Police Reports on Reduced Number of Casualties on the Roads

Just a few months ago we reported about the new traffic fines in Croatia. Today, the Croatian police reported about the results of the implementation of those new fines.

In the report, between the numbers of the fines collected and prison days served, the really important piece of the statistics is hidden: in the 11 months of 2019, there are 38 fewer people killed in traffic than in the same period of the last year. Croatian police see that as an indication that the stricter law and bigger fines are effective in preventing the worst traffic accidents.

Since the beginning of August, since the new law was implemented, until the end of November, 3316 perpetrators of the most serious traffic violations have been fined. They have been fined between 10 and 20 thousand kunas or prison sentences of up to 60 days. Most of those include driving under the influence of the alcohol (at very high blood alcohol levels), driving before getting the driver's license, driving while the license is suspended and refusing to undergo a blood test.

The police also decided to compliment the courts for imposing the strictest fines and prison terms for the worst offenders. In addition to saying that the courts are helpful in reducing the number of traffic accidents with the worst consequences, they have also acknowledged that the media reporting has raised awareness of the changes. The Croatian media have repeatedly reported on the increased fines for repeat offenders, which the police say has played a role in reducing the number of casualties in the traffic (260 in first 11 months of 2019 vs. 298 in the same period in 2018).

The highest final traffic fine in this period, based on the changes of the law, was 30,500 kunas. Prison sentences of 30 to 120 days were given to drivers with very high blood alcohol levels, those driving before taking the test or while having their license suspended.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

New Traffic Fines in Croatia, Starting Today (August 1st, 2019)

Recently adopted changes to the Road Traffic Safety Law (Zakon o sigurnosti prometa na cestama) are coming into force today, so here are the most significant changes and the new traffic fines you might come across if you find yourself driving without full compliance with the law today.

The point of almost all of those changes is that the traffic violation fines have been increased. The idea behing the increase is, as the Ministry of the Interior says, to increase the level of safety, but also to raise the level of traffic culture in Croatia, writes.

There are 8 wrongdoings in traffic that will cost you 20,000 kuna (around 2,700 €):

1) driving at 50 km/h over the limit within an inhabited area,
2) driving in a forbidden direction on a highway or any other road,
3) going through a red light on purpose, without reducing speed, or going through two or more red lights,
4) refusal to take a drug or an alcohol test,
5) driving under the influence of alcohol (over 1,5 g/kg) or under the influence of drugs,
6) driving before obtaining your driver's license,
7) driving while the driver's license is suspended because of "traffic points",
8) driving while the driver's license is suspended for other reasons.

(Please don't do any of the above no matter what the new traffic fines are.)

If you repeat any of those offenses, your license will be suspended for a longer period after that - 6 months for the second time you do it, and at least a year if you repeat three or more times. Also, if you keep repeating the offense, the police are given the authority to temporarily seize your vehicle. Hit-and-run behaviour will also be fined with 20,000 kuna in the future, if there are injured individuals in the accident. If you just bumped someone and nobody was hurt, but you left, the fine will be 7000 kuna. Both of those will get you some additional traffic points.

If you manage to get to 12 such points, you won't be able to apply for your driver's license for two years (this is even stricter for young drivers, as for them the cut-off is at 9 points).

Some other behaviours that are considered to be especially dangerous have also gotten increased new traffic fines, so now you'll pay a thousand kuna (around 150 €) for not having your seatbelt on, using your phone and driving recklessly with children in the car.

A change that probably doesn't matter much to our summer guests is that from now on, the law says that the lights on the car need to be on at all times during the day in the period between November 1st until March 31st. The fine for not having the proper winter gear has now been increased, and the driver's obligations during winter-time have been explained in a better manner.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Driving in Zagreb: Traffic Chaos to Follow Roundabout Closure?

Driving in Zagreb comes with both ease and difficulties, unlike the along the coast, the time of year rarely causes issues when it comes to traffic in Zagreb, but Mayor Milan Bandić's timing for major roadworks often does.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of December, 2018, after having been delayed multiple times, the closing of the huge Zagreb roundabout has now been announced for this coming Sunday, December the 16th, 2018, as has another important event, a sporting one.

On Sunday, December the 16th, the Zagreb Advent Run will take place in the Croatian capital, and driving in Zagreb will become more problematic as the new traffic changes will come into force.

Isidor Kršnjavi street (Ulica Isidora Kršnjavog), where the start of the race will be, will be closed for all traffic from 08:00 to 12:30 on the aforementioned date.

The rest of the routes being used within the scope of the Zagreb Advent Run will begin being closed off by local police several minutes before the start of the race at 10:00 and will remain closed until 12:30.

Sunday will also bring problems owing to the Dinamo Zagreb - Hajduk Split match, which traditionally brings with it major traffic jams, at 15:00.

Make sure to follow our dedicated news page for more information on traffic and driving in Zagreb, as well as in the rest of the country. If it's just Zagreb you're interested in, stay up to date with everything you need to know about what's going on in the Croatian capital city by following Total Zagreb.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Driving in Croatia: Changes Coming to Croatian Motorways

Driving in Croatia is always a pleasure, especially if you're taking a journey across the country, from the south to the north. Having lived in Dubrovnik for a number of years before moving up north to Zagreb, I can say with confidence that the roadtrip between Dubrovnik and Zagreb is, despite its length, a particularly impressive one, offering you a chance to see the true wealth of natural diversity Croatia boasts in all its glory.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 19th of November, 2018, the changes coming to Croatia's roads have already been implemented in various degrees by other European countries, including Norway, the Netherlands, Austria, and Italy.

Boris Huzjan (56) has been the president of the Croatian Motorway's administration (HAC) for a year, and he has the restructuring of two of the largest Croatian road companies under his belt.

In an interview for Jutarnji list, Huzjan spoke about future plans for driving in Croatia and answered the question of whether or not it really is true that the plan is record all cars when they arrive at toll booths, as well as measure their speed, and that the police would potentially punish drivers who, for example, manage to arrive from Zagreb to Dugopolje near Split in less than three hours.

"We're aware that motorways allow drivers to achieve higher speeds than allowed and that this in itself significantly undermines the level of traffic safety. That's why we've decided to support the Ministry of the Interior's (MUP) efforts to control and monitor the speed on the roads in accordance with the National Road Safety Program with one single goal: the increasing of traffic safety. So it's not a repressive measure, but a rescue of human life. These [regulations] have already been implemented in various degrees by Norway, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy...

In the experience of the Netherlands, where the average speed measurement was introduced for the first time back in 2001 on the E19 motorway between Rotterdam and Delft, prove the effect of reducing vehicle speed by 0.5 percent, and the number of deaths was reduced by more than 50 percent.

By introducing continuous automatic speed controls on our highways, traffic safety will be increased, the consequences of traffic accidents will be reduced, the behaviour of drivers will be affected, and this will also reflect the behaviour of drivers on all of the other roads. Speed ​​monitoring will be performed by measuring the average speed of a vehicle at certain sections of the highway, and with radar controls at specific locations, such as locations where there are road works going on, where speeding is the most common cause of traffic accidents.

The speed-controlled locations will be marked with traffic signs that will warn you to look at how fast you're going. We want to do this in a timely manner because we don't intend to use this as a measure to simply punish people. Our goal is to make people aware of speeding, and for this project to be applied to all roads in Croatia. I believe that the most important principle of traffic policy is human life, and that must be ahead of the need for mobility.'' concluded Huzjan.

Make sure to follow our dedicated news page for more information on driving in Croatia and much more.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Zagreb Traffic News: Roundabout Closure Delayed Again

How do you know when something in Croatia definitely won't happen? Usually when you're told that it definitely will. Some Zagreb traffic news as the much anticipated and highly problematic issue of closing the city's large roundabout, which was initially scheduled for much earlier on has been delayed yet again. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of October, 2018, Zagreb traffic is set for some considerable disruption as the date is pushed back once again. As far as crossroads, temporary roads consisting of as many as four lanes will be constructed during the roundabout's closure.

The newly planned date for the start of for the closure of the capital city's large Remetinec roundabout is now December the 15th, 2018, and works on the area are expected to continue until January the 30th, 2020, according to a report from, who obtained this new information from the competent City Office.

To briefly recall, the information which was being circulated before now stated that the rotor should have been closed from November the 30th this year.

"As far as the bypasses are concerned, there will be a temporary road with four lanes (two in the east-west direction) and the harmonisation of all of the traffic lights in the vicinity of the works will be carried out.

There will be temporary traffic regulation signs placed near the bypass near Lučko and at the Jankomir bridge, and a large part of the traffic that is now using the roundabout is being planned to be shifted towards other traffic directions. ZET Zagreb Holding ltd will organise substitute transport for passengers [using public transport] by introducing new bus lines, and ZET will arrange for all of its existing bus lines to continue but on the new temporary roads,'' read a statement from the City of Zagreb.

Want to keep up to date with the latest news, traffic related and otherwise from Croatia? Make sure to follow our news page for news from across the country.

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