Revealed: How Abu Dhabi students are learning to drive in foggy, rainy weather


Abu Dhabi - Drivers can be in jeopardy for non-compliance with road safety norms.

By Rasha Abu Bakar and Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Sun 22 Aug 2021, 3:57 PM

Last updated: Sun 22 Aug 2021, 4:37 PM

The Abu Dhabi Police and the Emirates Driving Company (EDC) have launched a new initiative, where learner drivers are undergoing rigorous training in a simulator to cope with inclement weather conditions, including rainfall and fog.

The move aims to further improve road safety in the country’s largest emirate.

Colonel Mohammed Albreik Alamri, the Director of the Drivers and Vehicles Licencing Directorate in the Central Operations Sector, Abu Dhabi Police, said the mechanism was recently introduced in a bid to create further awareness among learner drivers to negotiate challenging weather conditions, when the visibility gets extremely poor both within city limits, rural areas and on highways.

“All learner students have to undergo simulator training,” he said.

Colonel Alamri said simulators were introduced to help learner drivers understand how to behave during challenging weather conditions and avoid serious accidents. “Drivers can be in jeopardy for non-compliance with road safety norms. This device is best suited to prevent accidents and further improve road safety,” he said.

Colonel Alamri added that rollover and multi-vehicle pile-ups are the most commonplace accidents during inclement weather conditions.

“Fog can cause multi-vehicle pile-ups because of almost zero visibility,” he added.

Colonel Alamri said the device has had a positive impact on driving students.

“We’re seeing a positive effect during driving tests. Learner drivers are being constantly monitored to ensure how they can further improve their road safety skills,” he added.

The UAE experiences foggy weather conditions largely between November and March -- the winter season.

Several tragic accidents have occurred in the past due to multi-vehicle pile-ups due to foggy weather conditions.

For instance, in February 2018, 22 people were injured in a pile-up, which involved as many as 44 vehicles on the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Street (Abu Dhabi-Dubai road).

Main objectives of simulation training

The simulation training is for light vehicles, heavy buses, trucks and school buses.

“Its primary objective is to help a learner practice, imagine and learn about dangerous driving situations such as challenging weather conditions both within city limits and highways. The training is being done in a big hall and in a safe and secure environment,” said Khalid bin Aamer Al Shemeili, acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), EDC.

“The device gives learner drivers a chance to get familiar with driving in a simulated environment. They’re also undergoing extensive training on defensive driving,” he added.

The training regimen

Altogether, there are 16 simulators for 190 trainees at the EDC facility. Three instructors are always available, and a trainee needs to undergo six simulation classes of 15 minutes each.

The simulation sessions include normal driving in two-way traffic, driving inside city limits alongside other road users, in rural areas, on highways etc.

An instructor gives handy tips to a student about how to use a simulator, which has an in-built facility for challenging weather condition scenarios.

“Though the device gives elaborate instructions to students, we monitor them constantly. The simulator instructs users to reduce speed due to low visibility because of foggy weather conditions. If there’re vehicles close to them, the machine cautions them to drive carefully and also not to change lanes or overtake other motorists due to poor visibility,” said Al Shemeili.

“Learner drivers are undergoing training to ensure that they pull over on the extreme right side of a road if the visibility is extremely poor,” he added.

Instructors hailed the EDC and Abu Police’s move to introduce the simulators. The initiative would help learner drivers’ hone their skills better and further improve road safety, they said.

This new training exercise could also be arranged for public taxi and bus drivers and also those who work for companies, said EDC officials.

They said the device offers several advantages such as a lack of physical risk, and also both training time and cost overruns.

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