Holidays are fun, not if you try to make it on the roads in UAE


Holidays are fun, not if you try to make it on the roads in UAE

An expert urged motorists to "plan properly" in order to avoid any kind of road incidents.

By Sarwat Nasir

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Published: Sat 15 Jun 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 15 Jun 2019, 3:35 PM

During public and private sector holidays, the accident rate on UAE roads often spike as seen in the past few years. 
This Eid Al Fitr, however, was a particularly tragic one as 17 people died in a horrific bus crash that took place on June 6. The Omani driver had crashed the bus into a road height restriction barrier near Al Rashidiya Metro Station.
There was also an accident in Abu Dhabi on the first day of Eid holidays, which took the lives of three Emirati children and a nanny. The speeding vehicle veered off the road and crashed into a lamp post in Al Falah district. The mother sustained critical injuries.
While in Ras Al Khaimah, an Omani expat was ran over by a speeding car. The driver was a 16-year-old who did not have a licence. Khaleej Times had reported that the RAK Police had attended 8,100 calls over the Eid break.
Thomas Edelmann, managing director of RoadSafety UAE, told Khaleej Times: "We witness a lot of traffic in holiday periods and this increases the chances of accidents.
However, when you break down the reasons for accidents in holiday periods, they are pretty much the same like during normal periods and are linked to inattention, distraction, speeding, driving without licence, not using seatbelts, as well as tailgating, lack of lane discipline and so on. We must always drive carefully and we can never let down our guard, not even in holiday seasons."
He said that the holiday season is when residents are often in a rush to reach to gatherings and events on time. However, they should "plan properly" in order to avoid any kind of road incidents.
"We know from research, that when we are running late, we try to catch up the lost time on the roads, which is of course the worst place to do so. 'Running late' causes UAE motorists to speed (67 per cent claim this is the main reason for speeding), but also other forms of reckless driving like bullying other motorists, tailgating, illegal overtaking and more.
"Holidays are special periods and we need to behave special. We regularly urge UAE motorists to make these special periods the starting point of better road habits. We should reflect on our behaviour and start to always use our seatbelts, display proper road etiquette, and treat other traffic participants with respect and in the most caring manner."
During the Eid break last year, the country also saw a spike in the number of road accidents. In Dubai alone, there were a total of 905 traffic accidents that took place during the Eid Al Fitr holidays.
Colonel Turki bin Fares, director of the command and control room of the Dubai Police, said they had received 26,667 phone calls on 901 and 999 during the holidays.
In Ras Al Khaimah, there were 289 traffic accidents while in Sharjah, two deaths due to traffic accidents were reported over the Eid break last year. There were a total of 11 road accidents, nine of which were serious.
In 2017, 10 people were killed and 54 others injured in road accidents across the UAE during the Eid Al Adha holiday. In Dubai alone, there were 728 road accidents reported.
The accidents were caused by drivers who broke the road rules by sudden swerving, speeding, entering roads without ensuring the way was clear and general inattention.
After the accident in Abu Dhabi, where the nanny and children were killed while the unlicensed mother was driving, the police were quick to issue a warning against driving without a licence.
Lt-Col Abdullah Al Suwaidi, deputy director of the Department of External Zones at the Abu Dhabi Police Department of Traffic and Patrols, said: "Apart from being a huge violation, driving a car without a licence is very dangerous and poses threat to both the driver and other road users.
"We urge all motorists to abide by the traffic rules, avoid recklessness and not flout speed limits," said Al Suwaidi, adding that motorists should also ensure that all passengers in the car, including children, fasten their seatbelts.
"The police will not show any leniency in implementing penalties against offenders who violate the laws, in order to maintain safety of road users."
Though, it's not just over the Eid holidays when the country sees an increase in road traffic accidents. Ramadan days, unstable weather conditions, summer time and other public and private sector holidays also see an increase in accidents.

Road users call for tighter regulations
UAE residents are urging drivers to follow road rules to ensure transportation is "safe for all", while some people have said they are now "scared" to drive in the country after reading about the high accident rate over holidays. 
The bus crash in Dubai that killed 17 people shook the nation and also made international headlines. It was one of the most horrific accidents to take place in the UAE. Just two days before this accident, the tragic news of the death of a nanny and three children in Abu Dhabi on the first day of Eid holidays also shocked people. 
Now, residents are insisting that even tighter laws and regulations be introduced and are urging other drivers to be more cautious. 
Sonal Chhibber, an expat who drives in Dubai, said: "It was a horrific news and an unfortunate incident (the bus crash) that took place over Eid time. I felt so sorry for the victims and their families. A joyous time of Eid turned into tragedy for many. As a driver, I feel very scared now to drive on Dubai roads, considering that there is no road safety if such incidents and negligence by drivers continue to happen. It's quite a scary phenomenon. An improved traffic system and public safety is the need of the hour as people's trust and wellbeing are vital for any city or society to function well.
"It's sad but true that unfortunate accidents increase during holidays, and I feel this is because people are on a high and become ignorant of traffic rules and other people's safety. I have seen many people standing and dancing from open outlet in cars with loud music, driving carelessly and posing danger to others. It's totally unacceptable and stricter laws are needed to curb such incidents of rash and reckless driving on priority basis."
Another motorist, Faraz Izhar, said that drivers "need to realise" that roads are a shared public property and they "need to maintain decorum and follow rules". He believes it all comes down to the attitudes of drivers and they need to follow the rules in order to make the UAE roads safer. 
"Rules have been framed to protect lives and to keep the roads safer but some people feel offended that they are made to follow rules. They get thrills out of speeding, lane swerving and tailgating. This attitude needs to go. Not to forget that drivers who drive at the speed of 60kmph in a lane of 120kmph pose just as big a road hazard as the ones who speed," Izhar said. 
"There seems to be a definitive need for more aggressive patrolling. Also, the discounts on traffic fines need to stop. In fact, the fines should be made heftier. Unmarked police cars and instant on-the-spot checks/fines given by them to the violators shall help to a very large extent. Most of the violations are committed by these careless drivers when there is no patrolling vehicle visible to them on the road." 

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