Most traffic accidents on day before holidayThere are more traffic accidents the day before Chuseok, than during the five-day holidays, as travelers jam expressways to get to their hometowns.
Statistics from the General Insurance Association of Korea showed Friday that the number of traffic accidents reported on Sept. 5, 2014, a day before Chuseok, was 851 nationwide. The average number of traffic accidents during all five days of the holidays was 507, the data showed.
The number of deaths recorded the day before the holidays last year was also higher than the average figure during the holidays. On Sept. 5 last year there were 1,239 deaths across the country, 34 percent more than the daily average of 923 over the next five days.
Long-distance driving and traffic jams made drivers too relaxed and careless, and some motorists failed to fasten their seatbelts during long trips, industry observers said.
“Every year, most people depart for their hometown a day before the Chuseok holidays, and a massive amount of traffic fills expressways, leading to a surge in traffic accidents,” said an official from the association. “Drivers get bored during long-distance driving and some even watch a television through a DMB (digital multimedia broadcasting).”
The insurers’ association staged a campaign on Friday to raise public awareness of safe driving ahead of the holidays, in cooperation of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Korea Expressway Corporation, and National Police Agency.
At several major tollgates in the country, the association distributed free chewing gum or energy patches to help keep drivers alert.
Motorists were urged to follow three basic rules: fasten your seat belts, never use smartphones or watch DMB, and never drink and drive.
Also, during the holidays, police will carry out additional surveillance on expressways using drones, the association said.
BY KIM HEE-JIN [email@example.com]