Motorists asked to be cautious while driving

Amanda Fisher
Filed on December 25, 2013
Motorists asked to be cautious while driving

The UAE records 12.7 road-related deaths per 100,000 people much higher than the UK and France.

Tis the season to jolly well not find yourself in a car accident, which means avoiding the hazards that abound on the clogged up holiday roads.

Today Khaleej Times launches a weekly traffic safety tips series, which coincides with an increased need for vigiliance on the roads at this time of year due to twin concerns of a higher number of road users and poor weather hampering driving conditions.

Thomas Edelmann is the founder of Road Safety UAE, the country’s first road safety portal, which will provide the road safety tips series.

Edelmann encouraged people to drive in a manner to enjoy the “spirit of the season” — which meant exercising extra caution, he said.

“In this part of the season, festivities collide with unpredictable weather patterns so we have to be very careful, take that into consideration and maybe leave earlier to give yourself more time.”

Winds and rain lashed the country on Monday, causing traffic to pile up and eliciting warnings from police to avoid accidents. While no major mishaps were reported, it is an all-too-frequent outcome of bad driving conditions.

Edelmann said that with children out of school, more families were driving together which not only meant higher volumes of traffic outside the car, but could prove to be a source of distraction inside the car as well.

“Just think about Christmas can’t forget there is a zero tolerance for drink driving in this country and even the biggest celebrations (are no excuse).”

According to statistics from crisis reporting organisation the Pulitzer Centre, the UAE records 12.7 road-related deaths per 100,000 people — much higher than the UK and France which record 3.7 and 6.4 deaths, respectively.

While road deaths in Dubai have dropped significantly in recent years — about 60 per cent since 2006 — the country is aiming for a zero death policy by 2020.

Austrian Edelmann, who has lived in Dubai 13 years, said his website-based “educational platform for road safety” is intended to improve driving in the country, not to turn drivers here into Western drivers.

“We need to come up with a set of applied rules that make sense here, we will never be Western Europe.”

But there were two simple things that would improve the driving record here, he said, including better driving etiquette.

“Treat others like you want to be treated... here very often we have the aspect of driving against each other.

“The second one the time. In this part of the world, a lot of the misbehaviour that we are seeing is due to the fact that we’re running late.”

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