It's not easy to handle a minibus on UAE roads, say drivers

Dubai, Professional drivers, minibus, heavy vehicles, rest hours
CALL FOR BAN: According to official figures, minibuses were involved in 15 per cent of all fatal crashes in the UAE.

Abu Dhabi - Opening up about the challenges they face, the drivers said they are constantly in a race to beat deadlines.



by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Mon 30 Sep 2019, 10:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 1 Oct 2019, 8:07 PM

Professional drivers need to strike a balance between work commitments and taking rest, experienced hands have told Khaleej Times. Opening up about the challenges they face, the drivers said they are constantly in a race to beat deadlines.
E.K., an Asian driver who has professionally driven cars, minibuses and heavy vehicles in Dubai for the last nine years, said: "Driving needs a disciplined lifestyle. You need to manage your sleeping hours as per shift timings. It is the most important thing."
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He said it's not easy to drive a minibus. "I have driven minibuses and vans for a long time, but I was never involved in any accident as I was particular about striking the right balance between work and rest hours. The problem happens if you spend long hours on the road. It's too stressful to drive when the sun is beating down mercilessly. It's very hot inside, especially if it's a minibus or van. Sometimes you lose focus and it may turn out to be a costly blink."
He noted that Dubai roads are a challege even for experienced drivers. "There are so many exits and flyovers. You miss one exit and you end up driving for an additional 30 minutes. The loss of precious time and fuel rattles in your head. The disappointment and anger boils, and some irritating passengers make the situation worse. You may also receive a pesky phone call for a bank loan. In between all this, there will be jaywalkers. There are many factors that could lead to accidents."

Follow rules to stay safe
J.J., another Asian driver, said accidents happen because of speeding and failure to follow rules. "If we keep the stipulated distance between vehicles, there will be no accidents. We also need to avoid the phone while driving.
"I work a round-the-clock shift. I catch sleep at home whenever possible. Otherwise, I am always on the go. It's a bumper-to-bumper drive."
S.T., an Abu Dhabi-based driver, said he and many of his friends have "unwillingly" exceeded speed limits. "I drive a car and minibus. I take passengers to offices and construction work sites. Most of the passengers turn up late and then demand to be dropped to their destinations on time. We drivers are helpless as they may complain to our managers and we may end up losing our jobs. It is dangerous, but we take that risk."
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com


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