December 3, 2023 – Croatia never ceases to amaze, even after 21 years – an explanation why several Croatian towns have only one traffic light, which appears pointless. But this is Croatia…
I think that my interest in Croatian traffic lights began on Hvar.
After travelling all over the globe and living in Asia, Europe and Africa, moving to an island without roundabouts, traffic lights and lifts (from hotels – I actually went 4.5 years without going in a lift), 13 years on Hvar was a much more sedate experience.
There actually is a traffic light on Hvar, which operates in season at the Pitve Tunnel, but driving on Hvar was blissful, and traffic lights and roundabouts became strange concepts, mostly confined to the mainland.
Apart from that random traffic light on the way to Blato on Korcula. Now I think I know why it exists.
After visiting some Croatian friends building a yoga retreat in the forest near Buzet, we popped into the town for a drink and a tour.
On the way, Zeljko slowed down for this traffic light, which was flashing amber.
“This is the only traffic light in Buzet, and it always flashes amber,” he said. “Well, almost always.”
Apparently, it turns red only when someone it taking their driving test, for a traffic light is part of the test. Locals in the know ignore the red, as they know it is only for the test.
“Otherwise, it would not be possible to have a driving test in Buzet, and people would have to go to Pazin.”
It sounded a little far-fetched to me, so I posted on Facebook to get confirmation, and there was quite the response, firstly from neighbouring Pazin.
“Same in Pazin, because of the driving school.”
“And in Trilj.”
And Ivanic Grad.
And probably many others. I even found media confirmation of the Buzet traffic light.
I wonder what would happen if the local police caught a local jumping the red light on driving test day.
Ah Croatia, full of its wonderful quirks…