KT for good: Everybody hates a tailgater in UAE, don't be one
Tailgating is one of the top three causes of road accidents in the country.
There has been an alarming trend on UAE roads: In 2017, 41 per cent or four out of 10 motorists admitted to tailgating.
Last year, based on a survey conducted by a road safety group on drivers' perception, 59 per cent or six out of 10 motorists experienced tailgating. Majority of the motorists in the UAE recognise its dangers, but more than half of them drive too close to the vehicle in front, unmindful of a possible collision. Tailgating is one of the top three causes of road accidents in the country.
According to RoadSafetyUAE, 56 metres is the recommended safety distance between vehicles when driving at 100km per hour under normal road and weather conditions.
Alarmingly, four out of 10 motorists say they do not know what the official safety distance is. "Every year, we see pile-ups which are typically chain reactions: One accident occurs, some-times just a small fender bender, but following motorists cannot avoid colliding with obstacles in front of them, due to the lack of proper distance, lack of attention, or high speeds," according to RoadSafetyUAE, which conducted the surveys in August 2017 and September 2018.
"Tailgating is one of the most impolite, irresponsible and reckless behaviours we can observe on our roads," said Thomas Edelmann, managing director of Road-SafetyUAE.
"Tailgaters blame slower vehicles in front or their own 'running late' excuse for their offensive behaviour. There is little empathy for the ones getting tail-gated, despite the fact that tailgaters are well aware of the stress and distraction they cause."
According to the Ministry of Interior, tailgating is the number three killer on UAE roads, causing 13 per cent of traffic accidents in the country. Back in 2016, 38 people died in Dubai because of tailgating while 14 were killed and 151 sustained injuries in the first three months of 2017 alone. Authorities are going hard against offenders. In 2016, the Dubai Police issued 7,137 fines to tailgaters.
"More has to be done," said Malaysian-Singaporean expat KC Cheah.
"Stronger enforcement and education should happen, and other than monetary penalties, mandatory social service in hospitals to treat patients who were victims of reckless driving should be included." Pakistani expat Amjad Nawaz, a Dubai resident for nine years, told Khaleej Times that the problem has become endemic. "Even if I follow the three-second rule (the safe distance recommended between vehicles) or in-crease the gap between my car and the one in front of me, another car will just come in between.
"It defeats the purpose of having a safe distance as, sometimes, I have to apply a sudden brake to avoid collision," Nawaz said.
Filipino expat Arnel Fernandez added: "Heavy fines should be imposed on tailgating
The radars can also be used to catch tailgaters." "Things really have to change. We have superior infrastructure in the UAE, but what's the use of having good roads when some motorists are not conscious of driving safely."
How to do it right
> Do not drive too close to the car in front of you.
> Apply the 'three-second rule' under normal road and weather conditions and use the 'five-second-rule' in low-visibility situations
> High-end cars often come with a distance warning system - consider this in your purchase decision and activate this functionality
> Give ample space for motorcycles
> Show a 'caring' and respectful attitude towards motorists around you. It is a sign of proper road etiquette and manners not to bully the vehicle in front of you.
Understanding the 'three-second rule'
When the vehicle ahead of you passes a certain point such as a sign, count 'one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three' - doing this takes approximately three seconds. If you pass the same point before you finish counting, you are following too closely.
Increase the three-second rule to five seconds in low-visibility situations such as driving during bad weather.
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